Another tough question for sure. I am a big fan of all three players as they are pivotal to the defense. However, when it comes down to it, there are clear answers as to who I would keep, trade and release.
I would keep Gerald McCoy, trade Lavonte David and release Brent Grimes.
Grimes has arguably been the most important defender, as he has been the only corner who has actually been able to cover. However, he is much older than the rest and probably only has one or two seasons left in him. Grimes was close to retiring before he even signed with the Bucs. It would make the most sense for Grimes to go, but I wouldn’t be comfortable with having Hargreaves being the top cornback. So, it would be difficult to let him go but he isn’t the same caliber player as David or McCoy.
Up until recently Lavonte David was the best linebacker on the Bucs and a top linebacker in the entire league. While the latter is still true, the former is not. Kwon Alexander is the better linebacker between the two, but both are absolutely incredible linebackers. With Beckwith also up and coming the Buccaneers would be best served trading David and getting value for him.
The Bucs may not be able to pay Lavonte for his next contract on top of that. Many teams would love to have a linebacker like David and the Bucs would receive great compensation.
Finally, we have Gerald McCoy, the most criticized player on the Bucs, for absolutely. no. reason. Since 2013, no defensive tackle has had more sacks than Gerald McCoy. He’s only missed four games but is labeled “soft”. Gerald consistently draws double teams and is still able to power through to make plays. I don’t even want to think about the defensive line without McCoy. The already weak push they get now would be virtually nothing.
The absolute worst thing people say about McCoy is that he is “too nice”. What people don’t realize is that not everyone can have Sapp’s mean streak, you can be a nice guy and still be a dominant defensive tackle, and McCoy is exactly that.
I’m not saying that McCoy shouldn’t be playing angry because I think every player should be playing angry, they should be furious every time they give up a score. However, there is nothing wrong with McCoy helping a player up after a play, that’s just called sportsmanship. So yes, I would keep McCoy because he is second to only Aaron Donald to me in terms of defensive tackles.
There you have it, I would cut Grimes, trade Lavonte and keep Gerald.