Buccaneers Rumors

Buccaneers Release Gerald McCoy

Gerald McCoy‘s time in Buccaneers limbo will end with a release. The nine-year veteran has been informed he will be cut soon, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). The Bucs announced the release.

This has been a consideration for a while, but the team has finally decided on a course of action. The Bucs did not want to pay McCoy his $13MM 2019 salary, per Stroud, and did not find a trade partner. Trade talks commenced for two months, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The team did not ask McCoy to take a pay cut.

McCoy will become one of the most attractive free agents on the market. Although, being released in mid-May does not do the longtime Bucs stalwart any favors. He will join fellow 2010 top-five defensive tackle pick Ndamukong Suh as a top-caliber free agent.

Though McCoy failed to make the Pro Bowl last season — his first such omission since 2011 — he still recorded six sacks and rated as one of Pro Football Focus’ upper-echelon interior defenders. McCoy also has avoided serious injuries, the six-time Pro Bowler having played in at least 14 games in each of the past seven seasons.

The signing bonus-averse Bucs will create $13MM in cap space; McCoy had three years remaining on a seven-year, $95.2MM contract. The Bucs currently possess barely $1MM and needed to make a move in order to finish up signing draft picks.

Of course, a Tampa Bay defense that was one of the NFL’s worst in 2018 now will be without its top two pass rushers. Jason Pierre-Paul will be out for a while after sustaining a neck injury in a recent car accident, and McCoy (54.5 career sacks; at least six in six straight seasons) will almost certainly sign elsewhere soon in advance of his age-31 season.

The Bucs used a 2018 first-round pick on Vita Vea and are moving to a 3-4 look after using a 4-3 scheme throughout McCoy’s career. Still, this now profiles as one of the NFL’s most pass rush-needy teams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/16/19

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Signed: G R.J. Prince
  • Waived: G Kofi Amichia, TE Nick Keizer

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

  • Signed: D’Ernest Johnson
  • Waived: RB L.J. Scott

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Waived: WR Justin Sumpter

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Signed: WR Bryant Mitchell
  • Waived: LS Dan Godsil

Tennessee Titans

Latest On Bucs, Gerald McCoy

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy remains in limbo. It has long been speculated that the Buccaneers will either trade Gerald McCoy, release him, or ask him to take a pay cut from his slated $13MM salary for 2019. Of course, the first two scenarios have not happened yet and the club still has not asked McCoy to take a salary trim, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times

Reading between the lines, it sounds as though the Buccaneers are pretty certain that they’ll be moving on from McCoy. If they wanted McCoy to stay in Tampa, they probably would have discussed a pay reduction with him by now. The fact that they haven’t suggests that they want to offer McCoy much, much less than $13MM – a figure so low that McCoy would not even consider it.

Lately, coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht have been non-committal when asked about McCoy, who has been with the club for nine seasons. It remains to be seen whether McCoy will show for any part of voluntary OTAs and, if the situation drags, he may even stay home during the club’s mandatory minicamp between June 4-8. If McCoy no-shows, the Bucs will have the ability to fine him.

Despite his past accomplishments, an April report indicated that McCoy has not generated trade interest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers Cut Kerwynn Williams

Barely a week after signing Kerwynn Williams, the Buccaneers will move in a different direction. Tampa Bay signed four players in recent days and made the veteran running back one of the cuts required to clear roster space, Greg Auman of The Athletic tweets.

Williams has a history with Bruce Arians and OC Byron Leftwich, playing parts of four seasons with the Cardinals. A Chiefs post-training camp cut last year, Williams did not see any time last season but caught on with the Lions via reserve/futures contract in January. He will now look for another team to give him a shot.

The 27-year-old back’s best season came in 2017, when the Cardinals were mostly without David Johnson. Williams rushed for 426 yards that year. Despite that being by far his NFL high-water mark, Williams has nonetheless managed to remain a roster consideration for teams despite being a 2013 seventh-round pick.

Tampa Bay also cut tackle Israel Helms and wide receiver Malik Taylor. The Bucs waived Isaiah Searight with an injury designation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/12/19

Here are today’s minor moves:

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kennedy is an interesting story, as he was taken in the third round of last year’s Major League Lacrosse Draft by the Boston Cannons, per Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. He appeared in six games for the Cannons while also suiting up at wide receiver for Bryant University. Despite only playing two years of football at Bryant, Kennedy is eighth in school history in catches and receiving yards, and he posted 57 receptions for 888 yards and nine touchdowns in 2017. He missed four games due to injury in 2018, but he still finished with 33 catches for 410 yards and a touchdown.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/11/19

Today’s minor moves will be posted here:

Atlanta Falcons

  • Signed: RB Tony Brooks-James (Oregon)
  • Waived/injured: RB Jeremy Langford

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Signed: S Josh Moon (Georgia Southern), OL Jordan Agasiva (Utah)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Signed: WR Spencer Schnell (Illinois State), DE David Kenney, OL Riley Mayfield (North Texas)

With the exception of Kenney, all players signed were undrafted rookies who were inked to deals after participating in their respective teams’ rookie minicamps. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network tweeted a cool story about Schnell, who’s late father Dave briefly played for the Bills. Greg Auman of The Athletic tweets that Schnell was impressive during minicamp, and that he’ll “get a look” returning kicks in addition to his receiving work.

Langford initially looked promising after entering the league as a fourth round pick of the Bears back in 2015. He opened the 2016 season as Chicago’s starting running back, but he’s struggled with injuries and turned into a journeyman ever since. Drafted only a few years ago, the Falcons were already the fifth stop of his career. He only appeared in one game for the Falcons last year, rushing nine times for 25 yards.

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy Discusses Trade Rumors

We’ve been hearing for several months that the Buccaneers have been looking to move on from veteran defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, but the front office hasn’t had much success finding a trade partner. Thanks to the uncertainty, the 31-year-old didn’t show up to the team’s offseason workouts back in April. Despite his absence, McCoy made it clear this week that he’ll suit up for whatever team’s rostering him come the start of the regular season.

“I will be playing football somewhere,” McCoy told Mike Cairns of Spectrum Sports 360 in Tampa (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). When asked if he’ll be playing football for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, McCoy said “I don’t know. We’ll see. Fans know I love them. I’ll be on the field at some point.”

Since McCoy hasn’t been generating a whole lot of trade interest, it’s led some to assume that the veteran will ultimately be released by the Bucs. McCoy is due $13MM in 2019, and he is under contract through 2021, with cap charges north of $12MM in each of the next two years. The Buccaneers can move on from the defensive tackle without any dead money ramifications.

As Smith points out, it may be in McCoy’s best interest to attend the team’s voluntary workouts. If the lineman were to get injured, the Buccaneers would be responsible for his entire salary. As a result, his attendance could spark some urgency in the front office. Smith also notes that Jason Pierre-Paul‘s neck injury further complicates matters. There are rumors that the defensive end could be out for six months, meaning the defensive line with further lean on McCoy. The Buccaneers could choose to place JPP on the non-football injury list, a financial move that could change their opinion on McCoy’s roster spot.

In 2018, McCoy ranked fourth among defensive tackles with 21 quarterback hits and finished as the NFL’s No. 28 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus. However, he hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2013, and he hasn’t graded as a top-10 interior defender since 2014.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jason Pierre-Paul Won’t Have Surgery, Expects To Play In 2019

The last we heard, it was looking like Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul might miss the entire 2019 season. Pierre-Paul was involved in a serious car accident last week that resulted in a severe neck injury. Fortunately, things appear to be headed in the right direction. 

Pierre-Paul will not have surgery, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapoport posted in a follow-up tweet that Pierre-Paul “expects a midseason return.” The original reporting was that the injury was likely to require surgery, and likely to knock him out for the whole year. With surgery no longer an option, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets “the plan is to recheck” on Pierre-Paul’s fractured vertebra “at the 4-month mark.”

Pelissero also writes the “expected timeline is 5-6 months, if not sooner,” on when he’ll return to the field. As Greg Auman of The Athletic pointed out in a tweet, four months from JPP’s injury would coincide almost exactly with the time when the Bucs would need to decide whether or not he’ll open the season on the 53-man roster or the non-football injury list.

From a football perspective, it’s a huge blow for the Bucs. In his first season in Tampa last year Pierre-Paul had a very productive season, notching 12.5 sacks, the second-highest total of his career. The team is expected to either release or trade Gerald McCoy, so the defensive line was already going to be thin even before JPP’s injury.

The Bucs were hoping for a revitalized defense in the first year of the Bruce Arians era, and this certainly isn’t what they were looking for. If he can return on the early side of the 5-6 month timetable, he could be back in October and only miss the first month or so of the season. We’ll keep you posted on the situation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucs Shut Down Kendell Beckwith

Kendell Beckwith‘s season ended before it could even start. On Friday, the Buccaneers placed the linebacker on the reserve/non-football injury list. 

Beckwith showed promise as a rookie in 2017 as he notched 73 tackles, one sack, two passes defensed, and a forced fumble. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to build off of that in 2018 thanks to a car accident that mangled his ankle. His surgically-repaired ankle continues to keep him off of the field and it’s not clear whether he’ll be able to resume playing in the future.

Beckwith has overcome adversity in the past – that standout rookie season game on the heels of an ACL tear that ended his final LSU campaign prematurely. Hopefully, he’ll be able to battle through his ankle injury and get on the gridiron again.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers Sign 16 UDFAs

The Buccaneers officially signed the following 16 UDFAs on Friday:

As the Bucs’ press release notes, history suggests that these players will have decent odds of making the final cut. Wide receiver Adam Humphries, running back Peyton Barber, and tight ends Cameron Brate and Antony Auclair all came to Tampa as UDFAs. In every year since 2008, at least one undrafted rookie has made the Buccaneers’ Week 1 roster.

That may be doubly true for defensive tackle Zack Bailey, who received a ~$23K signing bonus, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).