Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers releasing Gerald McCoy into free agency

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy remains one of the best players at his position, but the organization was unable to find a team willing to acquire his $13 million cap hit over the next three years.

Since coming into the league nine years ago as the No. 3 overall pick out of Oklahoma, Gerald McCoy has only known one team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

With 54.5 career sacks and three seasons with more than 20 QB hits, including each of the past two, McCoy has been one of the NFL’s most disruptive interior pass rushers.

However, despite all of his success and his importance to the Buccaneers organization, the new regime, led by incoming veteran head coach Bruce Arians, deemed his salary too pricey.

It was apparently a sentiment shared by teams around the league, as the Bucs were unable to find a trade partner for McCoy after months of shopping the high-impact defensive tackle.

According to long-time Buccaneers beat writer Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the Bucs have told McCoy that they will be releasing the 31-year-old into free agency.

McCoy, who has recorded a combined 12 sacks and 45 QB hits in the past two seasons, should have no shortage of suitors. He may be nearing the end of his career, but a fresh contract and continued production would make him a smart signing for any number of teams.

The Cleveland Browns are the ones to watch the closest. They were heavily linked to McCoy in trade rumors, even though they have a loaded defensive line after acquiring Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon to go with superstar Myles Garrett and rising defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi.

With McCoy, a six-time Pro Browler, on the squad, the Browns would have more than an embarrassment of riches in front of a secondary that includes young corners Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams.

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It won’t take long for McCoy to be snapped up in free agency, and while the Bucs have their own questions on the defensive line, this was a smart release.

Parting ways with McCoy saves about $13 million in cap space over each of the next three seasons, and it doesn’t cost the Buccaneers any sort of a cap penalty, given that the nine-year veteran had no remaining guaranteed money on his contract.

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