The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did not add any defensive lineman during free agency or until the seventh round of the draft; They now must keep Gerald McCoy.
Maybe this has been the plan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers all along, but the team can no longer afford to part ways from longtime Buc and team captain Gerald McCoy. That is right, the Buccaneers, with next to no cap space, cannot afford to trade or release a defensive tackle set to make $13 million in 2019.
While this offseason has been a whirlwind of constant chatter and rumors surrounding McCoy, Tampa Bay’s first round draft pick back in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Buccaneers do not have the depth or talent needed along their defensive front to free up his $13 million salary. Losing McCoy would create an even bigger hole in the trenches of their defense.
After failing to address the defensive trenches until the seventh round of the draft, if the Buccaneers moved McCoy, they would be left with just Vita Vea, Beau Allen, William Gholston, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, and Terry Beckner as the only viable options along their front. Outside of Vea, this is not a promising group of players to hang the hope of your future onto.
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Besides, if the Buccaneers have aspirations of competing in 2019 and with free agency mostly over, then why part with the ten-year veteran now? Entering his tenth season, McCoy has still remained highly productive for the pewter and red, tallying six sacks, six tackles for loss, and hitting the quarterback a massive 21 times in 2018.
NFL Insider and ESPN’s Adam Schefter also does not expect McCoy to go anywhere either. After speculation that the Cleveland Browns were potentially interested in acquiring McCoy (a report later refuted by Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times), Schefter was a guest on 97.1 The Fan in Columbus, Ohio to discuss the situation.
Schefter started by saying the Buccaneers had tried and failed to trade McCoy, teams are not willing to take on his $13 million contract, and finished by stating, “I see Gerald McCoy staying in Tampa” (via 97.1 The Fan).
The Buccaneers did not put themselves in a great position throughout free agency and the draft to field potential replacements for their nine-year vet and team captain. Even if the Buccaneers do not have any cap space to operate, free agency is mostly over, and they do not have the depth or talent in their defensive front to lose McCoy.