The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Gerald McCoy have finally parted ways after several months of speculation. Unfortunately this is nothing to celebrate.
The 2018 offseason woes for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have continued. After the loss of Kwon Alexander, DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries, and Jason Pierre-Paul to injury, the Buccaneers have added Gerald McCoy to the list of players that were desperately needed for the 2019 season but are now gone.
For starters, it should be abundantly clear to all Buccaneers fans this is detrimental for the team for a multitude of reasons. Anyone who says otherwise is looking at this situation through a funhouse lens that distorts a disastrous situation to one that is good for the team. For some reason as of late the fans of Tampa Bay have turned against McCoy, the man who has been one of the most consistent players on the Buccaneers for the duration of his nine-year term.
Had the Buccaneers front office seen this as a true possibility since the regime change occurred, a replacement for McCoy should have been drafted in the first two days of the draft. After taking linebacker Devin White in the first round, the Bucs took three defensive backs on day-two, completely neglecting their defensive line and create a need to hold on to McCoy.
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On a defense that is coached by Todd Bowles, depth is a necessity. The Buccaneers do not have depth for the defensive line, especially in a 3-4. McCoy had the talent, the size, and the speed to play a defensive tackle in a 4-3 and a defensive end in a 3-4. The Bucs do not have the personnel to simply replace this role that McCoy has played so well over his tenure in Tampa Bay and his stats prove it.
McCoy had three First-team All-Pro selections and made six Pro Bowls while a Buccaneer. During his nine years in Tampa Bay, McCoy played in 123 games and had 54.5 sacks, 79 tackles for loss, 140 quarterback hits, and had 218 solo tackles.
Recently the narrative amongst Bucs fans is that McCoy has fallen out of his prime and that they needed to get rid of him because his production was too low. In McCoy’s worst year with 16 starts he had 5 sacks on the season. For a defensive end in a 4-3 or an outside linebacker in a 3-4 this could be a down year, but McCoy does not play these positions. While 5 sacks is lower for McCoy, getting sacks as a defensive tackle is an incredibly difficult feat even in a 4-3.
McCoy’s stats will speak for themselves, and whichever team picks him up will be lucky to have a consistent player on their defensive line who shows up each and every week ready to play, and ready to lead his team by example. McCoy’s character is truly what sets him apart from his counterparts, specifically Ndamukong Suh who was taken one pick before McCoy in 2010.
While one pick higher than McCoy, Suh has had a similar career to McCoy on paper but has had some character issues both on and off the field. On the other hand, McCoy loved everyone in Tampa Bay and has never had the stigma that his first round counterpart has been branded with. McCoy has been involved in the community of Tampa Bay during his entire duration in the area, and the city was lucky to have him.
To again reiterate, the only good thing to come out of letting McCoy walk (and it was a slim silver lining at best) was that it freed up 13 million dollars in cap space which the Buccaneers desperately needed. While this money is now available, it will likely all go to signing a free agent or free agents to replace McCoy, who was likely the best free agent available at the position. Ndamukong Suh would be better at the position than others, but it remains to be seen how his attitude would mesh with the rest of the team and Todd Bowles’ scheme.
With McCoy out the door, the reins have truly been passed to Lavonte David for the defense, and perhaps for the whole team. McCoy has been the heart and soul on the Buccaneers, but now it is all on David to carry the mantle, which he is ready to do. While Buccaneer players have been tweeting out their displeasure that McCoy has been separated with so unceremoniously, it is clear that David and young Devin White will be needed to keep the defense anchored down.
To McCoy, while you may have not received the recognition that you deserved while on the field these last few years, thank you for being as consistent off the field as you were on it. Your character never waned even though your own fans believed that your play did.
While it is not easy to play in Tampa Bay, you have done it as well as anyone could. You did it with a smile and with pride, and the Buccaneers will always be lucky to have drafted you back in 2010. You have set a precedent that younger players will be able to look up to for years to come.
While the success never came while you were on the team, you have laid foundations that will lead to a brighter future. Fans will be able to wear number 93 in Raymond James Stadium with pride for years to come. Thank you.