After spending nine years with one organization, the Bucs have released veteran defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, first reported by Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times.
BREAKING: DT Gerald McCoy has been informed by the Bucs of their plans to release him after nine seasons. The team decided not to pay him the $13-million salary he was owed for 2019.
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) May 20, 2019
McCoy has been the longest tenured player on the Bucs roster, and tied for the fifth longest tenured player in team history.
The 31 year-old McCoy was set to make $13 million this season, which opens up plenty of room in cap space for Tampa Bay. They were previously cap-strapped, with under $2 million remaining before releasing him.
The Bucs have gone in a new direction with new coach Bruce Arians and the rest of his staff, as defensive coordinator Todd Bowles takes on play calling responsibility. Part of McCoy’s release comes from the emergence of last year’s first round pick, Vita Vea, who showed good strides at nose tackle in his rookie season.
Bruce Arians was pretty candid about the uncertainty of whether McCoy would remain on the Bucs roster when he spoke at the league meetings in Arizona last month. He stayed non committal about if he would be around at the start of the season.
“Guys at a certain age, it’s different,” Arians said. “Usually the age where they get paid the most and production doesn’t match. We’ve got to find that out. He’s not as disruptive as he was four years ago. He’s still a good player. If he’s here, he’s our starting three technique, no doubt about that.”
McCoy was the third overall pick by the Bucs in the first round of the 2010 draft. During his time, he became a locker room leader and a team captain for seven of his nine seasons.
He notched 54.5 sacks, 218 tackles, and 79 tackles for loss in 123 games during in his career on the Bucs. He ranks third all time in team history for sacks.
Even as important as he is as a player, McCoy was just as big of a fixture in the Tampa Bay community. He has been instrumental in assisting on many programs, including the Bucs’ Social Justice Initiative, “Cut For A Cure” on behalf of the National Pediatric Cancer Center, and running his own charity, The Patricia Diane Foundation.