For a situation that many assumed was a foregone conclusion, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers now find themselves halfway through May with defensive tackle Gerald McCoy – and his $13 million cap hit – still on the team’s roster.
NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapaport and Mike Garafolo came together on Thursday to discuss how things have progressed between each side and what, if any, scenarios exist in which McCoy finds himself back in Tampa Bay for the start of the 2019 NFL season.
“To be clear, they don’t want to get rid of him, they just don’t want to pay him $13 million,” Rapaport said. “Or at least have $13 million count against the salary cap. It does seem that, the more we dig into this, that that’s kind of what this is about, rather than the Buccaneers trying to move on from the player because they could have done it already. They would have done it already.”
“They would like the player, it’s just pretty obvious that they don’t want to pay him that much money,” Rapaport said. “What they could do, which is what teams sometimes do in situations like this, is do a little mini extension, lower his cap number and potentially get him some guaranteed money next year, but that just simply has not happened yet and until they get there, we’re always going to get questions about if this player is available via trade.”
Garofolo then added that the Bucs are a team that generally like to work their contracts so the salary cap number and cash number are in line, allowing them to potentially release players like McCoy at this point in their contract without facing significant dead cap space. While rumors have swirled, especially regarding the Browns, about a potential trade for McCoy, Garofolo stated his belief that right now the focus is still on finding a way to reach a common ground between both sides and that it didn’t seem as though a trade was significantly in the works.
“You look at Gerald McCoy and say, alright, we’ll hold on to him and see how this goes here and see if maybe we can work some kind of extension, like Ian talked about,” Garofolo said. “Maybe a trade. I know there’s a lot of talk about the Browns but Ian and I have spoken to sources familiar with the Brown’s thought process and we don’t get any sense that they’re knocking on the Buccaneers’ door, or getting ready to knock it down to get Gerald McCoy, so this is still about Gerald McCoy staying in Tampa Bay and playing for the Buccaneers before opening it up to other teams. That’s the impression I’m getting.”
The question then became, should the Bucs and McCoy not be able to reach an agreement and trade talks open, what would the return be for Tampa Bay? Both believe that a high-round pick is probably out of the question at this point, especially with McCoy “being on the wrong side of 30” and the money that comes along with it, according to Garofolo, despite him being such an impactful player at his position for so long.
“It’s hard to imagine him going for anything high, just consider the value here,” Rapaport said. “This would take a team trading a really high pick, probably not a first-rounder but let’s say a second-rounder, giving a contract extension to a defensive tackle who’s very, very good, but still a defensive tackle, still 31, you’re going to have to pay him more than $10 million per year plus the pick. That’s a lot, a lot to give up.”
McCoy still hasn’t shown up to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp and likely won’t in the near future unless an agreement is reached, and soon. Pewter Report will continue to report on the situation as more information is made available.