The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have multiple players to lock up for the long-term over the next few seasons, as the contracts of Doug Martin, Lavonte David, and Gerald McCoy will eventually require extensions.
General manager Jason Licht has already mentioned that maintaining the core of the team is important, so expect to see a priority placed on securing long-term deals for these players, with McCoy being the most pressing need for an extension. McCoy is entering the final year of his rookie contract, which was signed under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement.
It’s that last bit of information that is worth mentioning, because it dispels a primary concern many Buccaneer fans have. There have been comments and tweets from fans who want to trade Darrelle Revis or release Davin Joseph just to make room to re-sign Gerald McCoy. The Bucs don’t need to do that.
Because McCoy was drafted as a top pick under the old CBA, his contract as a rookie was incredibly overpriced, and he began his career as one of the highest paid players at his position despite never playing a single snap. McCoy’s final year of his contract will earn him just under $13 million, with his cap number higher than that due to bonuses.
Should McCoy receive an extension this offseason, and demand to be the highest paid player at his position, he’d not even require a raise. Ndamukong Suh is the other highly paid defensive tackle in the NFL, and his contract has a yearly average of $12.9 million, but has a 2014 total lower than McCoy’s, according to Spotrac.
Past McCoy and Suh, who both received their rookie contracts at the same time, there is only one other defensive tackle with an average yearly salary over $10 million (Geno Atkins). If the Buccaneers are able to leverage this into convincing McCoy to accept a similar or lesser contract, they could actually save money in the short-term by extending his contract.
No matter what happens, there is no need for the Buccaneers to move any players to afford an extension for McCoy. There is plenty of cap space this offseason to afford a few decent signings in addition to an extension for the Buccaneers’ dominant man in the middle.