The Cleveland Browns have added some talent this offseason, but their interest in Gerald McCoy shows they aren’t quite done.
As a practical matter, the $13 million in base salary Gerald McCoy is set to collect in 2019 is an unpalatable cost for the cap-strapped Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He can be cut with no dead cap to take on, but at least one team has interest in trading for the six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle.
Following up on his report from just after the draft, Steve Doerschuk of the Canton Repository has now reported the Cleveland Browns remain “quite interested” in McCoy and see getting him as realistic.
McCoy is no longer in his prime, but Pro Football Focus graded him out at No. 28 of 112 qualifying defensive tackles and he registered 21 quarterback hits to go with six sacks last season. The Browns apparently don’t have concern over his production, but Doerschuk cited “money issues that have a chance to be resolved” as the reason why no formal move has yet been made.
That suggests McCoy may have to take a pay cut to facilitate a trade. He is skipping voluntary workouts with the Buccaneers, but if he wanted to force the team’s hand on a move to cut or trade him he could show up ready to work. For what it’s worth, McCoy seems sure he’s already played his last game in a Tampa Bay uniform.
“I will be playing football somewhere,” McCoy told Mike Cairns of Spectrum Bay News 9.
The Browns, with just over $33.3 million in cap space (via Over The Cap.com), can easily absorb McCoy’s $13 million for this year. But they don’t seem quite ready to view him as a player worthy of that salary, with what the Buccaneers are looking for in a trade another factor in any talks.
Cleveland fortified their defensive line via trade (defensive end Olivier Vernon) and free agency (defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson) earlier this offseason. There’s some danger of bidding against themselves, but trading for someone like McCoy is about as big a move as an NFL team can make in May and general manager John Dorsey might be ready to add one more big name to the Browns’ roster.