It’s pretty clear head coach Bruce Arians isn’t enamored with Gerald McCoy. It’s also clear that the defensive tackle may leave the Buccaneers as a result.
The Buccaneers hired Bruce Arians to change the entire culture surrounding the team. Evidently, part of that directive seems to be getting rid of players he doesn’t feel are carrying their weight. In Arians’ professional opinion, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy falls into that category.
Arians didn’t pull any punches when he told reporters that McCoy isn’t as “disruptive” as he used to be. On one hand, that’s something that can safely be said about most 31-year-old defensive tackles. On the other hand, McCoy has a solid history of productivity in Tampa Bay even when there isn’t much talent around him.
The fact that McCoy chose to skip the first day of voluntary workouts under his new coach will only add to the bad blood between the two men. There’s no tangible repercussion for players who choose to skip out on this sort of voluntary work, but it’s clear McCoy is sending a signal to Arians that he’s not pleased with his recent comments.
It’s important to note that the Buccaneers can cut McCoy immediately without any negative salary cap implications. They owe him $38.4 million over the next three seasons if they elect to keep him, but he can be released immediately for nothing. McCoy certainly wouldn’t have a tough time finding a team willing to sign him, but he’s not going to get that kind of contract from anyone else in the NFL.
It’s hard to see this situation resulting in anything other than McCoy finding a new home. The Buccaneers may try to trade him, but they’ll likely be forced to release him if Arians and the front office don’t want him on their roster next season. If McCoy does hit the open market, he’ll immediately become one of the most sought after free agents in the league. He may not be quite the player he once was, but he’s still a disruptive force at defensive tackle. Good NFL teams are always in the market for players who can collapse the pocket from the inside.
The Buccaneers defense would be pushed into an even more severe rebuild if they part ways with McCoy. Kwon Alexander and Vinny Curry have already left their front seven this offseason. Losing McCoy would only heighten the need for Tampa Bay to find impact defensive lineman in April’s draft.
Teams with needs at defensive tackle will be keeping a very close eye on McCoy’s status in the coming days. Unless he and Arians can mend their relationship in the next few days, look for the talented defensive lineman’s tenure in Tampa Bay to end before the 2019 regular season begins.