The relationship between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their star defensive tackle, Gerald McCoy, had been uncomfortable all offseason.
On Monday, the relationship came to an end.
McCoy, a six-time Pro Bowl player, was informed he would be released, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. Later Monday, the Bucs announced the news, saying they had “mutually parted ways” with McCoy.
“These decisions are very difficult, personally and professionally,” Bucs GM Jason Licht said. “Over the past nine years, Gerald has been a cornerstone of this franchise and a leader in our community. Parting ways with a player and person such as Gerald is one of the toughest responsibilities of this job. We wish Gerald, along with his wife, Ebony, and the entire McCoy family continued success and thank them for everything they have meant to our organization and community.”
With that move, a talented interior defender becomes a free agent at a time in which there aren’t many talented players on the market.
Gerald McCoy released after nine seasons
McCoy will be remembered as one of the best Buccaneers defenders in team history, and there are some impressive names on that list.
McCoy was the third pick of the 2010 draft out of Oklahoma. He made his first Pro Bowl in 2012, the first of six in a row. He had 54.5 sacks for the Buccaneers.
But McCoy didn’t have a dominant 2018. New coach Bruce Arians seemed to question his desire. That led to a fiery Instagram video from McCoy as he worked out on Cinco de Mayo.
It seemed like a motivational ploy. Despite questions about McCoy’s future, teams generally don’t release good players in late May. There aren’t many ways to use the money saved from such a move. It’s just subtracting a good player from the roster after the draft and most of free agency is done.
But, the Buccaneers save McCoy’s $13 million salary by cutting him.
McCoy will be a nice late addition
The two biggest free agents still remaining, arguably, are defensive tackles. Ndamukong Suh remains a free agent. He’s joined now by McCoy.
McCoy is 31 years old and coming off a season in which he had just 28 tackles, his fewest since an injury-filled 2011 campaign. He still had six sacks, however.
Teams who are in need of defensive line help will certainly be interested, even if McCoy is on the backside of his career. It’s not often a player with McCoy’s resume becomes available this late in the offseason.
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