Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

How Bad is Gerald McCoy's Contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

Under the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement, rookies got paid. They got paid in ridiculous amounts. In fact, there are rookies from just a few years ago who are getting paid top dollar at their position to not play, because their performance was unable to justify playing time despite the massive financial investment.

One of those rookies who received a massive payday was Gerald McCoy. The defensive tackle was selected third overall, and that meant the Buccaneers had to push the checkbook across the table to McCoy and let him scribble in whatever amount he wanted. So that’s why the injuries and disappointing performances have been much more frustrating for the Buccaneers’ lineman.

McCoy took a huge step forward in 2012, earning a spot in the Pro Bowl and earning the respect of coaches and players across the league. He’s developing into a monster on the defensive line who commands the attention and respect of every blocker, or else he’ll be in the backfield chasing down quarterbacks and pinning runners to the turf.

But has he earned his paycheck yet? CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora recently posted an article stating that McCoy has one of the worst contracts in the NFL. And his logic isn’t terrible, but it seems to ignore 2012. Here is what La Canfora had to say:

…but McCoy has been unable to stay on the field with injuries and he needs to put that behind him. McCoy has flashed at times but given how high he was picked and how much he’s being paid as one of the last bonus babies of the old CBA, he needs a breakout season.

It would seem that McCoy had his breakout season in 2012, as a defensive tackle cannot really be measured by raw statistics like a quarterback, wide receiver, or even a defensive end. The things that often make a defensive tackle so menacing and difficult to deal with are the things that are hidden in the tape.

Don’t believe me? Listen to Carolina Panther’s coach Ron Rivera, instead:

Gerald McCoy may not make all the plays. But when you’re taking up two or sometimes even three guys on a play, you’re affecting the game. You’re impacting the game, and that’s what he does.

In that same article by Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune, Mike Smith of the Falcons is quoted as saying McCoy is a “game-wrecker” and that, as stated above, you can’t judge him based on stats.

So it would seem that McCoy’s Pro Bowl selection and the respect and praise he receives from other coaches starts to justify his contract. But let’s be honest, it’s really difficult to justify spending over 11 million dollars against the cap on a defensive tackle not named Warren Sapp or John Randle. And while I respect McCoy greatly and believe he’s the leader the Buccaneers’ defense needs, he may honestly have one of the worst contracts in the NFL. Luckily, the Buccaneers have some favorable deals elsewhere on the roster thanks to some good young talent like Doug Martin and Lavonte David, so McCoy’s deal isn’t totally unbearable. But Gerald is going to have to take yet another step forward to justify his cost.

What do you think? Do you think Gerald is overpaid? Or do you think his talent and leadership make him worth an 11 million dollar pricetag? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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