Earlier this week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released former All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy due to his high upcoming salary. McCoy, still in his prime, would be a valuable piece on any team in the NFL looking to make a postseason run. He is both great at stopping the run as well as a talented pass rusher from the inside. Teams are reportedly offering the six-time Pro-Bowler contracts worth up to $11 million per year.
Almost immediately after releasing McCoy, the Buccaneers signed another All-Pro defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh, to a one-year deal. That ensured Gerald McCoy would not be returning to Tampa Bay at a lower salary. McCoy will, in fact, have a new team in 2019, but that future team is yet to be decided. Here are Gerald McCoy’s potential destinations in free agency.
The Browns are the only team McCoy has actually visited so far. He finished meeting with them yesterday and, although he left without signing on the dotted line, said the meeting went well. While he wants to make a visit to at least one more team before signing, Gerald McCoy may very well be on his way to the Cleveland Browns.
Cleveland already has made a number of major additions this offseason, on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Specifically, on the defensive line, they traded for defensive end Olivier Vernon. Now with both Vernon and 2017 draft pick Myles Garrett, the Browns have two Pro-Bowlers from last season book-ending the line. They also signed Sheldon Richardson in free agency to play defensive tackle. Adding Gerald McCoy to an already potent unit would put Cleveland’s defensive line in the conversation for the best in football.
Another of Gerald McCoy’s potential destinations in the AFC North are the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore had arguably the best defense in football last season, ranking first in the league in yards allowed and second in points allowed. However, they did lose key players such as C.J. Mosley, Za’Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs in free agency. They could afford to add a stud like Gerald McCoy to the defensive unit.
McCoy is reportedly visiting the Ravens on Tuesday because he wants to honor the meeting he set up with them. After that, he may very well make a decision to sign with either the Browns or Ravens. Baltimore made the playoffs last year and although they lost some pieces, still have a potent defense. Unlike the Browns, they don’t have a bunch of big names on the defensive line anymore. While McCoy is a luxury at this point for Cleveland, he is a more of a necessity for the Ravens. Because of that, Baltimore may be willing to spend more money in order to sign him.
Dallas Cowboys/Indianapolis Colts
Gerald McCoy has already visited the Cleveland Browns and is set to meet the Baltimore Ravens. However, that does not mean he will definitely sign with one of those two teams. If for some reason he wants to hear other offers, McCoy has made it clear that he wants to play for a playoff contender. These two teams, the Dallas Cowboys and the Indianapolis Colts both made the second round of the playoffs last year. They are also young and look to be on the upswing.
On one hand, Indianapolis has a ton of cap space, with $57.5 million left to spend. They have an up and coming defense led by All-Pro second-year linebacker Darius Leonard. Not only would Gerald McCoy make a huge difference with his productivity, but he would be a great leader for that squad both in the locker room and on the field. The only issue is that Colts general manager Chris Ballard has been reluctant to play bidding wars for free agents. He may keep that stance when it comes to Gerald McCoy.
Just like the Colts, the Dallas Cowboys have a young, up and coming defense which McCoy could positively impact both as a player and as a leader. Their defensive line currently has two stud proven pass rushers on the outside in Demarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn. In addition, the linebacking corps is very good, led by Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith. Adding a dominant player like McCoy to the interior would make the front seven nearly unstoppable.
Of Gerald McCoy’s potential destinations, the Browns and Ravens seem to be the most likely. If he decides against signing with one of those AFC North teams, the Cowboys and Colts would both be great fits. No matter where he goes, though, McCoy is going to tremendously help a defense.
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