The Bucs got an earlier start to their 2019 season then most other teams with the signing of head coach Bruce Arians. Monday was the first day for teams with new head coaches to begin their offseason program, and Rick Stroud reported that there was one long-tenured player absent from the facility – 10-year veteran defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
Tampa Bay’s six-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman is set to make $13 million in base salary this season, but rumors have swirled that the Bucs may trade McCoy due to his high salary and the Bucs having very limited cap space.
It should be noted that the offseason program workouts are voluntary, so McCoy is not required to attend. Yet as one of the leaders of the team and a long-time captain, his missing presence was noticeable, especially in a year the team is learning a new system with a new coaching staff.
One of McCoy’s teammates on defense that spoke to the media on Monday was cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, who commented briefly on McCoy’s situation and the Bucs’ unwillingness to definitively say that he will be a member of this team for the upcoming 2019 season.
“We know what Gerald means to us in the locker room,” Hargreaves said. “The community knows what he means to the community based on what he does. I don’t have to speak for what he does. If he comes back, if he doesn’t come back – it’s all business. He has to do what’s best for his family, Mr. [Jason] Licht has to do what’s best for the Buccaneers, so that’s where that comes in line. I want him here, everybody wants him here.”