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Bucs Cut McCoy: What Now?

As has been heavily rumoured throughout the offseason, the Buccaneers have cut Gerald McCoy. It is always interesting to look into the fallout from and reasoning behind big name cap casualties and this is arguably the biggest of the offseason so far.

Tampa have one big – or 13 million reasons – to cut McCoy, as cutting him was an easy way of getting them out of cap hell, with just over $1 million in cap space, the release gives them $14 million to play with when recruiting free agents.

McCoy’s production clearly dropped in 2018. Excluding 2011, when the Tackle played just six game as a sophomore, McCoy posted his fewest combined tackles since he was a rookie (28) and fewest solo tackles (17). A third of McCoy’s tackle assists (25 of 77) have come in the last two years showing that he has lost speed and block shedding ability with age – posting less than 20% (40 of 220) of his total tackles in the same time. With figures like that, McCoy is not worth his $13 million superstar salary and with no dead money the decision was a no brainer.

That’s not to say that the Oklahoma alum isn’t productive anymore as he posted six sacks, bringing his career total to 54.5, and 11 tackle assists, his third best tally. McCoy has the third most sacks this decade among Defensive Tackles with 50.5.

Gerald McCoy will need to find a team that meets his scheme requirements, having played in a 4-3 setup in Tampa, if not he will likely end up being a rotational subpackage lineman. Cleveland and New England have both been mentioned as playoff contenders with an interest and McCoy would fit their schemes. Having finished last in seven of his nine seasons in the league – Tampa finished third when he was a rookie and second in 2016 – and yet to play on a playoff team, McCoy has earnt the right to chase a ring.

It would appear Gerald McCoy is off to greener pastures and it is understandable that the Bucs wanted to cut him and clear cap room as well as make a fresh start under Bruce Arians. But it does leave a hole on an already weak Tampa defence who have already lost Jason Pierre-Paul and Kendell Beckwith, both due to car accidents, for much of if not all of 2019 (Beckwith is confirmed to miss all of a second straight season). That leaves Vita Vea, Lavonte David and rookie Devin White to carry the load on the front seven, with journeymen role players filling the other four starting spots, forgetting subpackages. Adding Ndamukong Suh will help reduce the loss of McCoy, at a high price, and he will be a better scheme fit under Todd Bowles, having played 3-4 for the Rams last season. This all means Tampa will need to be shrewd with their improved cap situation to add depth.

While cutting McCoy made sense, having lost a third starter in two weeks on one of the league’s worst defences, new DC Todd Bowles has his work cut out to help make the Bucs contenders in the NFC South. For now, it continues to get worse before it gets better.

Image: Cliff Welch/Icon SMI

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