Gerald McCoy

Latest On Browns’ Pursuit Of Gerald McCoy

We heard earlier tonight that the Browns may have made Gerald McCoy an offer that exceeded the deal he ultimately signed with the Panthers. However, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler says that isn’t the case, as the Browns “weren’t touching” the $10.25MM maximum contract value he got with Carolina (Twitter link).

McCoy was set to make $13MM before he was released by the Buccaneers, and Cleveland was looking for him to “take a fairly sizable pay cut.” Fowler says the Browns ultimately pegged the 31-year-old as an $8MM player, which is what the defensive tackle ended up taking from the Panthers (without incentives). However, it’s uncertain if the Browns’ $8MM valuation accounted for incentives, and we don’t know if the guaranteed money would have exceed the $4MM he’ll be getting from Carolina.

Soon after McCoy’s release from Tampa Bay, the Browns were mentioned as potential suitors for McCoy. The Browns’ up-and-coming roster reportedly appealed to McCoy, although there was a chance the veteran would have had to play a reserve role in Cleveland. Head coach Freddie Kitchens even admitted as much last week.

“I know the more good football players you have, the better you are, the better rotation there is, the better you can get after a quarterback in a two-minute drive,” Kitchens said (via ESPN.com’s Tony Grossi). “There’s a staggering stat, like, 78 percent of two-minute drives, if you give up a sack, your chances of scoring goes to under 20 percent. He knows when we want to put pressure on the quarterback. He knows that’s what we’re going to be about. Hopefully he wants to be a part of it.”

The Browns added Sheldon Richardson earlier this offseason, and they also have former third-rounder Larry Ogunjobi slotted in as a starter. Of course, McCoy would have provided the team with a considerable upgrade over the likes of Trevon Coley and Brian Price.

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Ravens Offered Gerald McCoy $8MM Guaranteed?

Gerald McCoy agreed to sign with the Panthers today, opting to remain the NFC South rather than venture to the Browns or Ravens in the AFC North. Apparently, though, Baltimore did everything it could to bring McCoy into the fold.

McCoy landed a one-year, $8MM pact from Carolina that could be worth as much as $10.25MM. However, only $4MM of that is guaranteed, and as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports, the Ravens were willing to give McCoy double that amount in fully-guaranteed money (video link). RapSheet adds that the Browns also put together a strong package that may have surpassed the Panthers’ offer.

It’s unclear what incentives Baltimore or Cleveland were offering to enhance the value of their proposals, but many of the incentives in McCoy’s Panthers deal do not seem especially difficult to achieve (provided he remains healthy). McCoy is due $3MM in base pay — and it’s not as though the Panthers are going to cut him to avoid paying that salary — and he can earn $500K in camp roster bonuses, another $500K in 45-man per game bonuses, $500K if he tallies six sacks, and $1.5MM if he posts eight sacks. He also has playoff and Pro Bowl incentives. The eight-sack incentive may be a tall order, but the others are either very likely or at least attainable (and McCoy did tally 8.5 sacks in 2015, with totals of seven, six, and six in each of the past three seasons).

So in reality, McCoy may ultimately earn just as much in Carolina as he would have with the Ravens or Browns (both of whom also boast strong front-sevens). But McCoy was drawn to the camaraderie he saw during his visit with the Panthers, and he preferred to remain in the South. He enjoyed his visits to Cleveland and Baltimore but had reservations about the cities themselves.

Of course, the chance to exact revenge on the Bucs likely had at least some part in McCoy’s decision, especially with Tampa Bay giving McCoy’s No. 93 to new signee Ndamukong Suh.

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Panthers To Sign Gerald McCoy

Free agent defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has elected to sign with the Panthers, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter). Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that it will be a one-year, $8MM pact that can be worth as much as $10.25MM with incentives, and Schefter adds that it includes a $4MM signing bonus (Twitter link).

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds more details on the incentive package (Twitter link). In addition to his $4MM signing bonus and $3MM base pay, McCoy can earn $500K in camp roster bonuses, another $500K in 45-man per game bonuses, $500K if he tallies six sacks, and $1.5MM if he posts eight sacks. He also has playoff and Pro Bowl incentives.

McCoy quickly became the hottest name on the market upon his release from the Buccaneers, and he visited with the Browns, Ravens, and Panthers. It sounds as though the Ravens were the runner-up in the McCoy sweepstakes, as Schefter tweets that McCoy left Baltimore thinking he may very well sign there. But Carolina wowed him during his visit, and Panthers QB Cam Newton made a convincing sales pitch. The fact that he can now terrorize his old team twice in 2019 may have also been a factor.

The Panthers reinforce a strong D-line that now includes three Pro Bowlers in McCoy, Dontari Poe, and Kawann Short. McCoy may not be the player he once was, but the 31-year-old is still a fearsome presence, especially considering his ability to generate an interior pass rush. He has 54.5 career sacks to his credit, and he is also durable, as he has not missed more than three games in a season since 2011.

Short and Poe each played between 50-60% of the Panthers’ defensive snaps in 2018, so McCoy fits nicely into the club’s rotation. He ranked fourth among defensive tackles with 21 quarterback hits in 2018 and finished as the NFL’s No. 28 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus.

The Panthers cleared out $9MM in cap space over the past week by officially releasing Matt Kalil and restructuring the contract of Torrey Smith. As Joe Person of The Athletic tweets, Carolina still has $8MM to conduct the rest of its offseason business.

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Gerald McCoy Hopes To Sign Today

Gerald McCoy‘s agent is actively negotiating with the Panthers, Browns, and Ravens, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). There’s no real timetable for McCoy to sign, though Rapoport notes that he would like to be on the field for the start of mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, wherever he lands. 

McCoy drew interest from seemingly 1/3rd of the NFL, but the Ravens and Browns seem to be in the lead for his services. The Panthers have also made a strong push to land McCoy in an effort to give Kawann Short a quality partner on the interior.

McCoy has 54.5 career sacks to his credit and has not missed more than three games in a season since 2011. He’d be an instant difference maker for any of those three clubs and each team would offer him a chance to win in 2019.

Ultimately, it may come down to money for McCoy and his camp – the veteran has reportedly garnered offers as high as $11MM/year, but it’s hard to see him reaching that mark after Ndamukong Suh signed for less than $10MM with the Bucs.

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Bruce Arians On Gerald McCoy-For-Ndamukong Suh Switch

Acting swiftly after their long-rumored Gerald McCoy separation, the Buccaneers now have Ndamukong Suh set to anchor their line. Suh and McCoy’s careers have been linked together since the former was the 2010 No. 2 overall pick and the latter going one spot later.

The Bucs managed to bring in Suh for $9.25MM. McCoy was set to earn $13MM this season on his seven-year Bucs contract. Bruce Arians described both McCoy’s financial situation and his place in Todd Bowles‘ new 3-4 defense as not being an optimal fit.

It just wasn’t a fit,” Arians said during an ESPN interview (via JoeBucsFan.com). “Whether it was financial, whatever, on the field, you know, it just didn’t fit. I’ve been through this a number of times with guys and great players and it just comes a time when they have to separate the organization. You go back to Franco Harris not being a Steeler; this has happened for a long, long time.”

McCoy’s 123 career Bucs games only sit 13th in franchise history, with multiple Super Bowl XXXVII icons spending much more time with the franchise. But he entered this offseason as Tampa Bay’s longest-tenured active defender. Despite McCoy and Suh entering the league together, Suh is more than a year older. He is going into his age-32 season, while McCoy will be 31 throughout the 2019 campaign.

Placing a great deal of emphasis on Suh’s attendance track record (two missed games in nine seasons, and those were due to a 2011 suspension), Arians identified the former Lions, Dolphins and Rams defensive tackle as being a superior fit for the team’s new defense.

Consistency. He never misses a game, very seldom ever misses a practice,” Arians said of Suh. “Plays extremely hard the way I like to play. He fits our three-man scheme a lot better in terms of his versatility up and down the front.”

Suh played 1,058 snaps last season, while McCoy was on the field for 731. However, McCoy (54.5 career sacks) played in 15 games from 2015-17 and has not missed more than three in a season since 2011. Suh (56 career sacks) played 329 snaps in a nose tackle role in the Rams’ 3-4 defense last season, though. The Bucs had deployed a 4-3 scheme throughout McCoy’s tenure. McCoy has visited the Browns, Ravens and Panthers and is believed to be on the verge of choosing his next team.

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Extra Points: McCoy, Incognito, Packers

Another day, another Gerald McCoy update. The biggest name left available has been taking his time, taking several visits, but it sounds like he could be nearing a decision. So far, the veteran defensive tackle has visited the Browns, Ravens, and Panthers. Although McCoy left Cleveland without a contract, a source tells Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the Browns are still very “much in the running” for McCoy’s services (Twitter link).

What suggests he should be signing imminently is that Kay Cabot also writes that he wants to attend his new team’s voluntary minicamp. As she points out, the Browns’ camp starts June 4th, which is in just a few days. To that end, she writes that McCoy could sign on Monday or Tuesday. It sounds like we’ll still be on McCoy-watch this weekend.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Richie Incognito has become more well known for things not related to football than for what he’s done on the field. The Raiders raised a lot of eyebrows when they signed the veteran guard to a deal earlier this week. Incognito spent the entire 2018 season out of football before retiring and then quickly reversing his decision. His retirement came at a tumultuous time for him, and a source told Josh Dubow of the Associated Press that “security was stepped up at the Bills headquarters around the time Incognito announced his retirement,” and that “security personnel were placed on alert if Incognito arrived.” Clearly Buffalo was concerned about him, which isn’t too shocking. Raiders GM Mike Mayock recently said while defending the signing, that “at the end of the day, you can’t have all Boy Scouts.” Speaking of Incognito, he’s had some run-ins with the law that were heavily publicized, but one slipped under the radar. According to documents obtained by ESPN, Incognito plead guilty to “charges of criminal damage and disorderly conduct,” last month, stemming from an August argument at his grandmother’s house. Incognito reportedly blamed his grandmother for his father’s death, which had happened just prior to the argument.
  • The Packers’ 90-man roster just got trimmed by one. Tight end Davis Koppenhaver, an undrafted rookie from Duke, “has decided to step away from the game and pursue a career outside of football,” a source told Michael Cohen of The Athletic (Twitter link). Koppenhaver never topped 157 yards during his time at Duke, so this isn’t too big of a loss for Green Bay.
  • Charges against former Texans tight end Ryan Griffin were dismissed earlier today, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Griffin was arrested last month at the NFL Draft in Nashville, and charged with misdemeanor vandalism and public intoxication. A few weeks later, Houston released him. The 2013 sixth-round pick has spent his entire six-year career with the Texans, and has never played a huge role on offense. After a relatively strong 2016 season where he had 442 yards and two touchdowns, the Texan gave him a three-year, $9MM deal. The charges against him never seemed too serious, and he should resurface soon.

NFC South Notes: Panthers, Falcons, Bucs

Although initial reports indicated Gerald McCoy‘s visit with the Panthers would begin on Thursday, he’ll actually begin meeting with the club on Friday, tweets Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. The Ravens and Browns have already hosted McCoy, and despite a slew of other reported interest, it appears McCoy will decide between Baltimore, Cleveland, and Carolina, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com suggests (Twitter link). McCoy, 31, has reportedly drawn offers as high as $11MM per year, although that figure is difficult to believe at face value, especially given Ndamukong Suh — McCoy’s replacement in Tampa Bay — collected only $9.25MM on a one-year deal.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • The Panthers are planning to run more 3-4 looks on defense, at least when they’re in base on early downs, as David Newton of ESPN.com writes. Rumors of a scheme change in Carolina have been bubbling for months, but head coach Ron Rivera hadn’t yet confirmed the move. Per Newton, the Panthers began experimenting with 3-4 fronts after Rivera took over play-calling for the final month of the season. According to Warren Sharp’s personnel data, Carolina ranked near the bottom of the league in 2018 in facing three-plus receivers — if that trend continues next year, the Panthers will spend a good deal of time in their new 3-4 base defense.
  • Defensive end Takkarist McKinley has been experimenting at linebacker during the Falcons‘ organized team activities, reports D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. McKinley, a first-round pick in the 2017 draft, has been lining up over the tight end on certain plays. “There will be some packages where can be a linebacker,” head coach Dan Quinn said. “The value in that (presents the question of) is he a rusher or is he a dropper?” The 23-year-old McKinley posted eight sacks and 50 pressures on 617 snaps last season.
  • Cam Newton has continually expressed optimism that he’ll be ready for training camp after undergoing offseason shoulder injury, and the Panthers quarterback recent took a step in the right direction. Newton has begun throwing a regulation size football, per Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer. The 30-year-old signal-caller sat out the final two games of the 2018 season while dealing with shoulder pain that eventually led to his operation.
  • New director of athlete performance Greg Skaggs will head a sports science department on the Buccaneers‘ staff, tweets Greg Auman of The Athletic (Twitter link). Skaggs and his crew will work on training and conditioning techniques in an effort to “optimize player health and production.”

Panthers To Meet With Gerald McCoy

Gerald McCoy is “tentatively” scheduled to meet with the Panthers this week, a source tells Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer (on Twitter). Carolina will host McCoy beginning on Thursday night, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

The Panthers first expressed interest in McCoy last week, and that interest “has not waned,” reports Rodrigue. A number of teams, including the Falcons, Saints, Colts, and Bengals have all reportedly at least considered a McCoy addition, but he’s only met with the Browns and Ravens thus far. Cleveland and Baltimore are McCoy’s preferred destinations, although he’s likely to be swayed by financial specifics.

While Carolina already boasts Kawann Short and Dontari Poe at defensive tackle, the club still has room for McCoy along the interior. Short and Poe each played between 50-60% of the Panthers’ defensive snaps in 2018, so McCoy could certainly fit into a rotation. McCoy would likely take playing time away from former first-round pick Vernon Butler (who’s already had his 2020 fifth-year option declined) and reserve Kyle Love.

McCoy, 31, ranked fourth among defensive tackles with 21 quarterback hits in 2018 and finished as the NFL’s No. 28 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus.

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Browns, Ravens Top Gerald McCoy’s List

The Browns and Ravens are in the lead for Gerald McCoy‘s services, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). However, if neither club offers him the contract he wants, it’s possible that things could open up for other teams. 

One of those teams could be the Panthers, who have a desire to upgrade at defensive tackle and have been lurking, according to Rapoport. With less than $10MM in projected cap space, the Panthers don’t have a ton of breathing room, but they could get creative with some contract adjustments and/or a backloaded contract for McCoy.

Pairing McCoy with Kawann Short would give the Panthers a potent attack on the inside, but Dontari Poe‘s contract may stand in the way. Signed to a three-year, $28MM deal in 2018, cutting Poe today would leave the Panthers with a whopping $9.2MM cap charge versus just $166K in savings. Instead, the Panthers may prefer to stay the course with Short, Poe, and quality backup Kyle Love.

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Latest On Gerald McCoy, Ravens

While the Browns hoped they could have Gerald McCoy signed before he left Cleveland, they now have serious AFC North competition. The Ravens are trying to execute the same strategy.

McCoy’s Tuesday visit will continue to Wednesday morning, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The Ravens hope to have a deal with the decorated defensive lineman by Wednesday, per ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley. The Browns, though, have remained in contact with McCoy since he left their facility, Hensley adds.

The six-time Pro Bowler (but zero-game playoff participant) wants to land with a contending team. The Browns have enjoyed a busy offseason loading up for what could be their most talented team since rebooting in 1999, but the Ravens are the defending AFC North champions. This has become an interesting pursuit. No other McCoy visits are known to be scheduled, though numerous teams have inquired.

Baltimore obviously lost plenty of talent from its No. 1-ranked defense this offseason, but most of the shakeups occurred in Baltimore’s secondary or linebacking corps. Brent Urban, however, signed with the Titans after starting 16 Ravens games last season. McCoy would join Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce, who recently signed his second-round RFA tender, on Baltimore’s front. Third-year players Chris Wormley and Willie Henry reside on the Ravens’ line as well. Baltimore also signed UDFA Gerald Willis, who was viewed as a mid-round draft prospect.

The Ravens hold $13.7MM in cap space but have not signed their top three draft choices. A multiyear deal should not be ruled out, with that likely serving the Ravens’ interests better, as The Athletic’s Jeff Zreibec writes (subscription required). Baltimore is expected to hold more than $55MM in 2020 cap space. Another potential draw for McCoy: the employment of defensive line coach Joe Cullen, who was the Buccaneers’ D-line coach from 2014-15.

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