Gerald McCoy

Gerald McCoy Not Generating Trade Interest

The Buccaneers are shopping defensive tackle Gerald McCoy but aren’t receiving much trade interest, according to Michael Lombardi of The Athletic (Twitter link). McCoy didn’t show up for the first day of Buccaneers’ offseason workouts on Monday, a possible indication that he’s not involved in the club’s plans going forward.

Tampa Bay is shifting to a 3-4 defense under new coordinator Todd Bowles, and the club may have concern that McCoy won’t fit into its new scheme. “He’s not as disruptive as he was four years ago,” head coach Bruce Arians said last week. “But he’s still pretty disruptive. He’s still a good player….I got to evaluate him. I mean, guys at a certain age, it’s different. Usually, the age they get paid the most and production (doesn’t) match. We’ve got to find that out.”

McCoy is still an effective player: in 2018, 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. However, he’s now entering his age-31 campaign, hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2013, and hasn’t graded as a top-10 interior defender since 2014.

McCoy’s contract is the true barrier to a possible trade, as it’s unclear if any club would be interested in taking on his $13MM base salary for the 2019 season. He’s under contract through 2021, with cap charges north of $12MM in each of the next two years. If the Bucs trade or release McCoy, they’d clear his entire $13MM figure from their books, which is critical given the team ranks last in the NFL in available cap space (~$1.795MM).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucs’ McCoy Doesn’t Show For Workouts

Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy did not attend the first day of off-season workouts with the team on Monday, as Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. These workouts are entirely voluntary, but this could be a sign that McCoy won’t be involved in the club’s plans moving forward. 

Earlier this offseason, it was reported that the Buccaneers planned to keep McCoy in the fold. But, recent comments from new head coach Bruce Arians cast some doubt on that front.

“He’s not as disruptive as he was four years ago,” Arians said“But he’s still pretty disruptive. He’s still a good player….I got to evaluate him. I mean, guys at a certain age, it’s different. Usually, the age they get paid the most and production (doesn’t) match. We’ve got to find that out.” 

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. He’s signed through 2021, but Tampa Bay won’t incur any dead money if they cut him. Meanwhile, they’d save $13MM against the cap by shedding his contract.

McCoy still has something in the tank, but he might not be an ideal fit for the team given his salary and the club’s move to a 3-4 scheme.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: Bucs, Falcons, Saints

While previous reports have indicated the Buccaneers plan to retain Gerald McCoy, the veteran defensive tackle may actually not be safe, especially given head coach Bruce Arians‘ most recent comments to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “He’s not as disruptive as he was four years ago,” Arians said. “But he’s still pretty disruptive. He’s still a good player….I got to evaluate him. I mean, guys at a certain age, it’s different. Usually, the age they get paid the most and production (doesn’t) match. We’ve got to find that out.” 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. He’s signed through 2021, but Tampa Bay won’t incur any dead money by releasing McCoy (and would save $13MM against the cap).

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • The Buccaneers had interest in edge rusher Brandon Copeland before he re-signed with the Jets, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com tweets. Tampa Bay ranked 28th in the NFL with 31 sacks a season ago, so the club can certainly use some extra help in getting pressure. However, the Bucs have already signed Shaquil Barrett to a one-year deal, so Copeland could have been viewed as redundant. Copeland. who also drew interest from New England, Washington, and Detroit, only landed one year and $1.25MM from New York, so Tampa Bay could have probably outbid Gang Green if it had serious interest.
  • Franchise-tagged defensive tackle Grady Jarrett will be a “Falcon for life,” team owner Arthur Blank told D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Atlanta will control Jarrett through at least the 2019 campaign after franchising him, but that will come at a heavy cost: $15.209MM, a figure that makes Jarrett the NFL’s sixth-highest-paid interior defender. Jarrett, who has started 44 games over the past three years, will likely target an average annual value closer to Fletcher Cox‘s $17.1MM and a full guarantee package in excess of $50MM. Atlanta currently has less than $5MM in available cap space; an extension for Jarrett would lower his 2019 cap charge and increase the Falcons’ available funds.
  • Saints general manager Mickey Loomis will no longer be involved in running the NBA’s Pelicans, reports Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com (Twitter link). Loomis, who’s been the Saints’ GM since 2002, took over as the Pelicans’ executive vice president of basketball operations in 2012. However, there was reportedly some concern within the Saints’ franchise that Loomis was being “spread too thin,” according to Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk. The Pelicans are in the process of hiring a new GM, one who will report directly to Saints/Pelicans owner Gayle Benson.
  • Nick Easton‘s four-year deal with the Saints is worth $22.5MM but contains only $4MM in guaranteed money, tweets Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune, who adds Easton received a $2MM signing bonus. As Mike Triplett of ESPN.com suggests (via Twitter), Easton’s deal is essentially a one-year deal with a series of options in 2020 ($5MM), 2021 ($6MM), and 2022 ($7.5MM).

Bucs Rumors: Brown, Steelers, Smith

We could see a lot of change in Tampa this year, but do not expect the Buccaneers to pursue Antonio Brown, GM Jason Licht says (via ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert).

From a talent perspective, the Bucs would surely like to have Brown on the roster. However, a Brown trade would require the forfeiture of significant draft capital and would hurt the team’s cap room, effectively forcing them to mortgage the future for a soon-to-be 31-year-old.

For now, the Bucs seem intent on keeping deep threat DeSean Jackson, though it remains to be seen whether they can hang on to pending free agent Adam Humphries.

Here’s more on the Bucs:

  • I don’t envision Donovan Smith being anywhere else but the Bucs, at least for next year,” Licht said on SiriusXM (Twitter link via Greg Auman of The Athletic). He added that the franchise tag is “more than likely” for the left tackle. This jibes with what we’ve heard previously. if the Bucs follow through on that plan, they’ll be even less likely to keep their hands on Humphries.
  • Bruce Arians’ recent chat with Jackson went well, according to the Bucs’ new head coach. “It went great. We had a long sit-down. From my perspective, it couldn’t have been any better,” Arians said (via Jenna Laine of ESPN.com). “You’d have to talk to DeSean to find out what his perspective is. But I thought it was great. I look forward to working with him. Ton of respect for him as a player … and a person.” Licht, meanwhile, was non-committal when asked about D-Jax.
  • Licht was similarly non-committal when asked about six-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy, who carries a $13MM cap hit in 2019 and is under contract through 2021. “Gerald’s been a real productive, successful player for the Bucs — one of the Bucs’ all-time best defensive players, you could argue,” Licht said. “He’s under contract. Ideally, [we’d] love it if he continued to be a Buc.” For what it’s worth, rumor has it that the Bucs see McCoy as a good fit, even as they transition to a 3-4 scheme.
  • Rising sophomore M.J. Stewart will get looks at several positions but “we’d love to see him at safety,” Licht said (Twitter link via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times). Last year, the 2018 second-round pick spent the bulk of his eleven games (five starts) at cornerback. He finished out with 33 tackles and three passes defensed.
  • Licht noted that the Bucs can keep running back Peyton Barber with a high tender in order to keep him from free agency, which may give some insight into the team’s plans (via Auman). A second-round tender at just over $3MM should ward away other interested clubs.
  • Caleb Benenoch struggled in 2018 as the team’s right guard and Licht believes that a switch to tackle is in his future, Auman writes. The change would mean a backup role, so Auman wonders if his job will be safe given his scheduled $2MM salary for ’19.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers Notes: McCoy, Smith, Brate

As a fourth new Buccaneers coaching staff this decade continues to gather intel early in a pivotal offseason, here is the latest out of Tampa. It’s looking like Gerald McCoy will be part of Bruce Arians‘ first Bucs squad.

  • Arians and his new staff have evaluated McCoy and view the stalwart interior defender as a good fit, even as the team transitions to a 3-4 defense, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports. McCoy is not in line to be traded or released, per Stroud, who adds the 10th-year defensive lineman was confident he would return to finish out the 2010s with the Bucs. A McCoy move was considered possible, with Jason Licht not guaranteeing the former top-five pick’s status with the 2019 team. McCoy coming back would mean a move to defensive end, but with teams spending so much time in nickel sets, the longtime 4-3 defensive tackle should see plenty of time as an interior presence next season.
  • McCoy will turn 31 on Monday, and after recording at least seven sacks from 2013-16, the former Oklahoma standout has registered six in each of the past two seasons. While McCoy remains an upper-echelon defensive tackle, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com writes his $13MM 2019 salary seems lofty. However, Laine adds that trading McCoy would likely only fetch the Bucs a fourth- or fifth-round pick. There are a few defensive tackles in free agency, even if the Falcons tag Grady Jarrett. Ndamukong Suh and Sheldon Richardson are back in free agency. And this year’s defensive line class being one of the best in many years further weakens McCoy’s value.
  • Another player considered a possible departure candidate could well be staying in Tampa as well. Donovan Smith is three weeks away from free agency, but Laine notes the four-year left tackle starter is not going anywhere. The Bucs will either tag Smith or extend him before free agency’s outset, per Laine. Smith has not graded as a top-tier tackle in the view of Pro Football Focus, but he has been a durable edge blocker, never missing a game. That said, a Smith tag would cost the Bucs approximately $14MM. It is debatable if he would receive that AAV on the open market, even considering how well offensive linemen have fared in recent free agency periods. A long-term Smith deal is expected to be in the $12-$13MM-per-year range, Laine adds.
  • Although Cameron Brate signed an extension to stay in Tampa last year, no dead money remains on the tight end’s deal. Arians, though, intends to keep the Bucs’ TE2 for 2019, Stroud notes. Arians, whose Cardinals teams did not have a consistent receiving threat from the tight end position, is intrigued by having two with the Bucs, per Stroud. Brate will make $7MM this coming season. He underwent hip surgery after this season, however. Both Bucs tight ends are coming off injuries, with foot and ankle maladies ending O.J. Howard‘s season.

Bucs Rumors: Winston, McCoy, Monken

Here’s the latest out of Tampa:

  • The Buccaneers say they’re looking for a new head coach, but not looking for a new starting quarterback. “Jameis Winston will be here. We have him under contract for a year,” GM Jason Licht said (via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times). “He has done some amazing things for a young 24, turns 25 in a week, quarterback. He’s accomplished more than most of the elite quarterbacks have at his age throughout that time span. There’s a lot to like about Jameis. Jameis will be here next year.” The Bucs picked up the fifth year option on Winston’s contract, which should keep him in place for another season at a rate of $20.92MM. Of course, the option is guaranteed for injury only, so the Buccaneers could theoretically get out of the deal.
  • Licht cannot guarantee that defensive tackle Gerald McCoy will be back with the team in 2019 (Twitter link via Stroud). “We have a lot of tough decisions to make,” Licht said. Thanks to the seven-year, $95.2MM contract extension he signed with the Bucs in 2014, McCoy is slated to be back with the team in 2019 at a $13MM cap number. However, it is a non-guaranteed deal. Despite Tampa Bay’s problems on defense and McCoy’s injury trouble, he still turned in a decent year for the Bucs. McCoy graded out as the No. 27 ranked defensive tackle in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus.
  • Licht says the Buccaneers will not consider in-house candidates for the head coaching job, as Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. That automatically rules out offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who may be up for the Jets job.

South Notes: Colts, Mariota, Bucs, Saints

Sunday’s snow game in Buffalo may end up costing Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri a significant amount of money, as Mike Wells of ESPN.com writes. Vinatieri has a clause in his contract that calls for him to earn a $500K bonus for converting 90% of his field goal attempts this season. After missing two field goals in a near blizzard against the Bills, Vinatieri’s field goal percentage now sits at just 88%, down from 95.6% entering Week 15. As Wells details, Vinatieri will need to hit at least five-of-five attempts during Indianapolis’ remaining three games in order to hit 90% again and reach his incentive threshold. Vinatieri, 44, is earning $2.75MM in base salary this year, and will become a free agent next spring.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is still dealing with hamstring, leg, and ankle issues and could require surgery following the season, a source tells Paul Kuharsky of PaulKuharsky.com. Mariota, who missed the tail end of the 2016 campaign after breaking his fibula, suffered a hamstring injury earlier this year, and the combination of those leg ailments are now affecting the Tennessee signal-caller. His recent performance is evidence of the problem, as Mariota hasn’t topped 200 yards passing in any of the Titans’ last three contests (while throwing for only two touchdowns against four interceptions). Tennessee still looks like a solid bet for a postseason berth — 81% per FiveThirtyEight — but the club could be held back by a hampered Mariota.
  • Although he initially feared he suffered a torn biceps in Week 14, Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy wants to play out the rest of the season, reports Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. McCoy has torn his biceps two other times during his NFL career, but he believes he’ll be able to play through the pain this time around. The Buccaneers are evidently willing to let him do so in what has become a lost campaign, as the club made a transaction on Tuesday without putting McCoy on injured reserve. Despite Tampa Bay’s problems on defense, McCoy has been as stout as ever, as he grades as the league’s No. 5 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus.
  • Defensive end Alex Okafor would like to re-sign with the Saints following a 2017 season that was shortened by injury, as he explains to Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. Okafor, 26, inked one of the better one-year deals of the season, a $2MM pact that will allow him to hit free agency again in 2018. Before going down with a torn Achilles, Okafor had more than lived up to his contract, excelling against the run while also managing 4.5 sacks. He’d been a key contributor as New Orleans’ defense surprisingly improved from its awful 2016 standing.
  • The Colts should use their three remaining games to assess their young talent, argues Wells in a separate column. Now sitting with a 3-10 record, Indianapolis clearly isn’t in the playoff hunt, so the club can begin to see what kind of talent resides on the back end of its roster. One player who could conceivably see more time down the stretch is running back Marlon Mack, especially given that 34-year-old Frank Gore is coming off a 36-carry effort in Buffalo (and will now play on a short week).

Buccaneers’ Gerald McCoy Done For Year?

It is believed that Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has torn his biceps, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The injury would almost certainly end McCoy’s 2017 season. Gerald McCoy (vertical)

In theory, one can play through a minor biceps tear without undergoing surgery. But, even if McCoy opts against surgery here, there’s little incentive for him to return to action between now and the end of the year. After Sunday’s loss to the Lions, the injury-riddled Bucs are 4-9 with zero hope of reaching the playoffs.

McCoy has been here twice before, suffering biceps tears in 2010 and 2011. Since then, McCoy has been largely healthy and exceptionally productive. He earned five straight Pro Bowl nods from 2012 through 2016 and also made First-Team All-Pro in 2013. Recovering from a biceps tear can be dreadful, but McCoy has proven that he can bounce back just fine.

Thanks to the seven-year, $95.2MM contract extension he signed with the Bucs in 2014, McCoy is slated to be back with the team in 2018 at a $12.75MM cap number.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Newton, Peterson, Others Get Salary Guarantees

Several NFL players have contracts containing language which states that they’ll get a full or partial salary guarantees for 2016 and/or 2017 if they remained on their respective teams on Friday, the third day of the league year. Let’s check in some of those players (link courtesy of CBS Sports’ Joel Corry):

  • Cam Newton, quarterback (Panthers): $13MM base salary for 2016 is now fully guaranteed. Friday is also the deadline Cam Newton (Vertical)for the Panthers to pick up Newton’s 2020 option for $10MM.
  • Eli Manning, quarterback (Giants): $17.5MM base salary for 2016 is now fully guaranteed.
  • Jay Cutler, quarterback (Bears): $16MM base salary for 2016 is now fully guaranteed.
  • Adrian Peterson, running back (Vikings): $7MM base salary for 2016 is now fully guaranteed.
  • Julio Jones, wide receiver (Falcons): $11.5MM base salary for 2017 is now fully guaranteed.
  • A.J. Green, wide receiver (Bengals): $6MM roster bonus is payable.
  • Brandon Marshall, wide receiver (Jets): $9.5MM base salary for 2016 is now fully guaranteed.
  • Mike Iupati, guard (Cardinals): $6.75MM base salary for 2016 is now fully guaranteed, as is $2MM of Iupati’s $8MM base salary for 2017.
  • Rodney Hudson, center (Raiders): $7.35MM base salary for 2016 is now fully guaranteed.
  • Gerald McCoy, defensive tackle (Buccaneers): $13.25MM base salary for 2017 is now fully guaranteed.
  • Marcell Dareus, defensive tackle (Bills): $9.75MM base salary for 2017 is now fully guaranteed.
  • Justin Houston, linebacker (Chiefs): $14.75MM of Houston’s $14.9MM base salary in 2016 is now fully guaranteed, as is $6.75MM of his $16.35MM base salary for 2017.
  • DeAndre Levy, linebacker (Lions): $5.25MM base salary for 2016 is now fully guaranteed.
  • Aqib Talib, cornerback (Broncos): $8.5MM base salary for 2016 is now fully guaranteed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFLPA Revokes Certification Of Agent Ben Dogra

6:51pm: Dogra’s legal reps issued a statement to reporters in which he vowed to appeal the ruling (via Josina Anderson of ESPN.com on Twitter):

Ben Dogra adamantly denies engaging in any conduct that was not in the best interests of his clients or NFL players. Ben has always been a strong advocate for NFL Players and is thankful for the show of support from his clients and others in the industry during this process. Ben will appeal the unprecedented, proposed discipline to neutral arbitration as provided under the NFLPA Regulations and looks forward to finally having an opportunity to examine and challenge the claims against him. The proposed discipline will not occur during the appeal process. It is therefore important that clients, NFL players, NFL teams, and Certified Contract Advisors understand that the discipline does not limit or prohibit Ben from representing his clients during the appeal process.”

6:12pm: On Wednesday, the NFLPA announced that the union’s Committee on Agent Regulations and Discipline (CARD) unanimously voted to impose discipline on agent Ben Dogra for multiple policy violations. Based on verified information included in a thirty-eight (38) count disciplinary complaint, Dogra has had his certification revoked for a minimum of three years and a $200K fine. "<strong

Dogra has the right to appeal before an independent arbitrator, so he has a chance to overturn the union’s ruling and regain his license to represent players. The union’s statement did not get into specifics about Dogra’s alleged wrongdoing but one has to imagine that details will emerge soon.

As detailed by Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal last year, Dogra had an impressive stable of NFL clients while with CAA Football. Dogra was fired by the firm in late 2014 and joined up with Relativity Football, taking a sizable list of high-end players with him. Notable names that stayed with Dogra include Adrian Peterson, Gerald McCoy, Robert Griffin III, DeMeco Ryans, Mario Williams, and Sebastian Vollmer. Now, those players and others will have to find new representation if the sanctions against Dogra stick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.