In a move that has been coming for months, the Buccaneers have parted ways with nine-year veteran defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, a six-time Pro Bowler. McCoy was set to make $13 million in 2019 and the salary cap-strapped Bucs needed the cap room to sign first-round draft pick Devin White and make a few other roster moves prior to the start of the regular season.

But this roster move wasn’t just about creating cap space. Tampa Bay could have restructured the deal of wide receiver Mike Evans or guard Ali Marpet instead.

This was also about parting ways with McCoy, a former team captain up until last year, and paving the way for White to become the face of the Bucs defense.

Additionally, this move is also about pursuing free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, too. If the Bucs were going to spend north of $10 million on a three-technique defensive tackle, it seems as if the team would prefer it be on Suh rather than McCoy. Suh made $14 million with the Los Angeles Rams last year, but has remained unsigned this offseason.

Bucs DT Gerald McCoy
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

McCoy has come under fire for some in the Bucs fan base for his nice guy image, but Suh has the opposite reputation, having racked up more than $400,000 in fines and suspensions for his overly aggressively style of play. If the Bucs pursue Suh, as expected, this move is about an attitude adjustment on defense as much as anything because both defensive tackles have had a similar amount of success in their careers, although McCoy has never helped the Bucs make the playoffs and has only played on two winning teams (2010, 2017) in Tampa Bay.

Suh spent last season with the Rams, helping them make the Super Bowl. Suh had 59 tackles, four tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks last year with L.A., in addition to four passes defensed and two fumble recoveries.

Suh, whom the Bucs wanted to draft over McCoy in the 2010 NFL Draft, was drafted second overall by Detroit with McCoy going third overall to Tampa Bay. On the heels of winning the Outland Trophy, Lombardi Award, Chuck Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year award with the Cornhuskers, Suh was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2010.

Suh spent five years with the Lions, recording 241 tackles, 66 tackles for loss, 36 sacks, two forced fumbles, one interception and one fumble recovery for a touchdown before spending three years in Miami. With the Dolphins, Suh notched 181 tackles, 37 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Suh has 56 sacks in his nine-year NFL career, compared to 54.5 for McCoy. Suh is 32 years old, whereas McCoy turned 31 in February.

A five-time Pro Bowler (2010, 2012-14, 2016), Suh was also a three-time first-team All-Pro (2010, 2013, 2014) and a second-team All-Pro (2012, 2016).

DT Ndamukong Suh
Former Lions DT Ndamukong Suh – Photo by: Getty Images

Suh is one of the most durable players in the NFL, averaging 935 snaps per season, including the playoffs, according to Pro Football Focus. He has only missed two games in his NFL career and has had at least 40 QB pressures every year since 2010. Suh had his lowest-graded season as a pass rusher in 2018 but played alongside the NFL’s leading sacker Aaron Donald and still managed 57 QB pressures.

Suh, was ranked as the 20th-ranked interior defensive lineman last year with an 82.6 grade just one season after posting a career-high 85.6 grade with Miami in 2017. McCoy had a 78.6 grade from PFF last year and finished with 38 pressures (20 hurries, 12 hits and six sacks) on 426 pass rush snaps.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

43 COMMENTS

  1. Bucs are serious about toughening that center of the defense.

    Interesting but also a lot more question marks IMO.

    Time will tell how all the pieces come together.

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  2. First reaction: The TRUE player Bucs fans always wanted but were stuck settling for and defending sorry ole’ McCoy against. Kinda like being stuck with Mariotta over Winston.

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  3. How much is Suh asking in terms of salary for him to be still on the market? Lots of question marks and unknowns.

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  4. Suh will laugh his ass off if bucs call him he wants a playoff team .he is not coming to a last place team

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  5. I think we’re about 10 years too late with this move…nice try Licht but, no.

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  6. I’m ok with Suh for the right price, but I’m not sure it has to be a big name to replace McCoy or even a lot of money.

    2017 Clinton McDonald at $2 million had 18 tackles, 6 TFLs, 10 QB hits and 5 sacks in a rotational role in 14 games played (only 3 as a starter) while 2018 Gerald McCoy at 13 million had 17 tackles, 6 TFLs, 21 QB hits and 6 sacks as a starter in 14 games.

    Not saying we should run out to sign McDonald and not saying Suh is a bad signing if price is right…. but I think Bowles can find McCoy’s interior production without breaking the bank this year better than he can in how we make up for JPP’s production of 12 sacks in outside pressure.

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  7. I did not realized how durable Suh has been and the number of pressure generated. Maybe the Bucs are serious about pursuing Suh after all.

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  8. Been saying that we should get rid of McCoy and get Suh…I’m all for it if the price is right.

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  9. Would Suh take $10-11 mil to become a Buc? Ansah signed for $5.5 mil in guarantees but can earn up to $8 million more in incentives.

    My other question is does Suh want to come to the Bucs or is he holding out for a proven recent contender? Lots of questions.

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  10. I’m upset about letting McCoy go, but if the idea is to pursue Suh to replace him, that’s a signal to me that the deterioration of the relationship between the team and the player is the primary reason for letting McCoy go, and there’s nothing that can be done about that. 🙁

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  11. Suh has that nasty swagger to him like Sapp had. Even back in 2010, I though Suh was a better fit for Tampa. I hope we get him.

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  12. Suh is not worth $14 M; he is not worth $13 M; he is not worth $10M. And neither was McCoy. If we can get him for $7 M okay, but why come here. I would go to a winner if I’m getting a lot less coin.

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  13. If the Bucs dump McCoy and pick up Suh, even after 9 years, it is the ultimate slap in McCoy’s face.

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  14. If Suh wants to be a Bucs for $10 mil it may happen. But Suh may want to go to a contender instead and not sign with the Bucs.

    Lots of unknowns.

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  15. Spotrac gives Suh a market value of $15.4 million per year. McCoy was not that expensive, and the Bucs were already in cap trouble. How can they possibly afford Suh?

    Suh has a ring, and he did not give a discount to get it.

    The only thing favoring the Bucs is that Suh has not been signed yet. But, is that enough to get him to come to Tampa on the cheap? I hope the Bucs are not going to sacrifice their cap future by giving Suh a huge multi-year signing bonus?

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  16. Suh is a great player with that nasty demeanor we need on this defense. I think he’s too expensive though and we can use that money to pick up another 2-3 D Linemen instead to have a good rotation.

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  17. McCoy didn’t want to be hear according to his wife so no I dont think it would be a slap to his face if we sign Suh.

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  18. Suh for 8 mil I would be ok with I guess but not really considering we need a veteran corner and a DE. Vita can play the 3 while Beau can play the 5 techs but we cannot go into the season with Nassib and Mr. Cant get his mind right Hargreaves at these key positions. Hargreaves has all the makings of a bust as Nassibs break out year was last year at 6.5 sacks.

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  19. Suh has a ring???

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  20. The biggest question is whether he knows any dance moves.. Gotta have fun during those blowout losses..

    In all seriousness, I doubt this happens. I’d welcome it for the right price though. I wonder if they’re actually eyeing a Leonard Williams trade?.. He’d look nice next to Vea..

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  21. @tbchucky I’d be all for that. You’d probably still have to cut JPP as well to clear up space and make Leonard Williams sign a new contract as he’s in the last year of his. Realeasing mccoy AND jpp would clear enough space to sign the rookies and williams

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  22. This would fall in line with Coach Arian’s immediate goal to change the attitude at One Buc Palace. We exchange lending a helping hand to stepping on it and perhaps a hawker in the face. Plus, we’d get to do that cool Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh! cheer. Haven’t gotten to do anything that since Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuud departed. We have however, perfected our Booooooooooooooooo! after so many years of practice.

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  23. How are costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalties gonna fly with Arians, though?
    Attitude is one thing – but I don’t remember Sapp constantly getting fined by the NFL…

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  24. I mean if SuH had a bunch of suitors he would have been signed by now or his asking price is to high people are sleeping on the Bucs we have talent an coaching now keep sleeping y’all

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  25. Great post @scubog! I was surprised you went with “hawker” instead Loooooooooooo-gie!

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  26. Or is it Louuuuuuuuuuuuu-ggie? Lol

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  27. Personally I’d rather us pickup Mo Wilkerson he’s a little younger. Probably a little cheaper, and he know Todd Bowles system

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  28. Suh is as bone headed as our current center, history of shooting their own team in the foot. no room for immature veterans. Besides why would he want to play for us. We are as dysfunctional as they come in sports.

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  29. I wouldn’t sign Suh for a penny or $7 Million. His production has slipped and attitude or not that’s all he’s worth. Add Suh to the list I said we should get years ago in their prime when they were available but not now that that’s when we sign them (i.e. Desean Jackson, Brent Grimes).

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    • I meant to say “…a penny OVER $7 Million….”

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      • A big difference, I know. To be clear I would sign Suh for $7 Million or less.

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  30. It’ll be interesting to see who gets signed first, Suh, or McCoy, and for how much. Let another team set the price, we don’t need to be in a hurry to sign Suh, he’s been available for awhile now. There has to be some reason for that. You would think McCoy will get signed first if the interest by the Browns was true.

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  31. Suh is not worth any amount. Bad attitude, penalties, only plays at a high level when he feels like it. Not a good idea.

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  32. This would be an ultimate slap in the face to GMC.

    Please get rid of Licht.

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  33. This was more about Power than it was about Money. McCoy was never going to take a pay cut and play for a HC who didn’t respect his game and the hardware that he’s earned over his playing career. Some people will argue was he worth the 13 mil? Well that depends on how you look at it, Is Winston worth 20mil vs MVP Mahomes $645 base salary. How about Mike Evans 20mil vs Super Bowl MVP Edelman 5.5 mil or No Pro Bowl D Smith 14mil vs Perennial Pro Bowl Tyrone Smith 10mil or Travis Kelce 9mil vs Undrafted always hurt no Pro Bowls Cam Brate 7mil. You’re only worth what someone is willing to pay you, So I’m not saying that the Bucs should have kept McCoy but If you’re going to use the “he’s not worth his 13mil contract” as an excuse to release him how then do you explain the other these other contracts. McCoy was the most Professional, most Decorated veteran you had on the roster with the most consistent production on the defense, Yet you chose to call him out instead of a long list of other players like Ryan Jensen 10mil with no Pro Bowls or All American Honors to his career.
    To me this was all about control and McCoy not willing to take anymore blame for W-L all these years and poor management decisions. He knew that he could sign with a contender if he was released, So he told Arians to kiss it and walked right out the door. Now who’s going to shoulder the blame If the season is a failure? Who’s going to pick up the Mantle? The next few weeks are going to be interesting. Go Bucs!

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  34. Suh would be a liability drawing penalties for his bad behavior. We don’t need that and he is no Sapp!
    Moreover, we need all of the 13 million to sign the rest of our rookies as well as a number of our undrafted Free Agents that I expect to make this team and don’t forget when we have injuries we have to pay replacements too and may have to buy out some badly injured players too in a settlement.

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  35. Ok is PR now engaging in censoring my posts you may not agree with?

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  36. Well thanks for finally printing my post!

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  37. Not all the vets on the roster or signed this off season will make the team. That alone will free up a lot more cap space than most people realize.

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  38. this isnt going to happen

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  39. If McCoy gets signed by another team before Suh then that speaks volumes about what other teams are thinking!

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  40. @bigsombrero: I wish I’d thought of that one.

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  41. I thought Bust Licht’s go to move would be to ship off our 3rd round pick next year for a nearly 30 yr old lineman in the hopes he’ll get one good season out of him and save his own job.

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