Keep – Gerald McCoy
There may not be a whole lot of time left for the best player on this defense, but what an awful thought having to imagine how much worse this defensive line would be without Gerald McCoy.Yes, McCoy has his share of haters within the Buccaneers’ fan base, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is an impact player on this team on every single play. Whether the stat line shows it or not, he’s hands down the best player on the defense and it’s not even close.
As former Buccaneer Booger McFarland loved to say, the eye in the sky don’t lie – and it shows an incredible tale of McCoy’s unrivaled talent.
McCoy has been with this team through the worst of times since coming into the league. He’s been the lone bright spot on more teams than he’d probably care to admit. Yet, he’s never wavered. He’s never complained. Never demanded a trade to a contender nor did he leave as a free agent to pursue big money on a contending team. He’s still the heart and soul of the defense and I’ll gladly take him for however long he wants to keep playing.
Trade – Lavonte David
Not my favorite thing, here. Just like trading Mike Evans in the offensive Keep/Trade/Lose we did, this one stings. However, there is already someone on the roster that can fill in effectively in Kendell Beckwith. Lavonte is still a big time play maker and the return on him would likely be pretty solid. If I had to guess based on the way the NFL GMs conduct trades, I’d say the Bucs would be in line to get a fourth rounder or potentially a conditional fourth rounder that bumps to a third based on achievements.
That doesn’t sound like a lot, but we as fans tend to overvalue our players or think that GMs love just throwing around draft picks like this is Madden. Draft picks are gold to these franchises and they don’t part with them easily.
Lavonte still has quite a few years ahead of him and it would be a shame to see him go. However, based on his age, high level of play, intelligence, and leadership he’s the most valuable trade commodity in this scenario. I find it hard to believe the Bucs could get a greater return on McCoy – despite McCoy being the better overall player – simply based on the fact that David has far more years remaining.
Lose – Brent Grimes
This was an easy one for the same reason Lavonte was the smarter trade chip – longevity. Miko herself said on Twitter Brent is leaning towards retirement and she’s trying to talk him out of it (please, Miko…we’re begging you – talk him out of it). With that in mind, Buccaneers fans need to start thinking about this defense post-Grimes, because it’s coming sooner rather than later.
Cornerback will be a major focus for the Bucs in the off-season, whether it’s free agency or the draft, and it’s difficult to fathom the Bucs getting someone as good as Brent Grimes heading into 2018. Unfortunately, that’s the reality we’re faced with.
You can’t choose to keep Grimes over McCoy or David and you won’t get anything in a trade for a guy that’s already hinting at retirement after the season. That’s why – despite my love for Grimes’ skills and playmaking – he had to be the player to lose.