Reports: Gerald McCoy to sign with Panthers

Shalise Manza YoungYahoo Sports Contributor

Free-agent defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has made his decision: Via multiple reports, he has chosen to sign with the Carolina Panthers.

The veteran chose Carolina over the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens.

McCoy stays in NFC South

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McCoy visited with all three teams, and since he visited Cleveland first, it was believed that the Browns had the best shot.

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has decided to sign with the Carolina Panthers. (AP)
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has decided to sign with the Carolina Panthers. (AP)

But he opted for the Panthers instead and will get to face his former team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, twice this season.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that the contract is for one year and about $8.5 million.

(Update: Schefter sent out another tweet saying McCoy’s deal has a maximum value of $10.25 million; the Panthers cleared about $9 million in cap space in recent days to make room for the potential deal.)

The Buccaneers released McCoy, the third overall draft pick in 2010, on May 20, saving $13 million against the salary cap. But the next day they signed defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to a one-year contract valued at $9.25 million.

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, who has covered the Bucs for years, tweeted that he received a text from McCoy reading, “See you Week 2!!”

Stroud added that the chance to play the Buccaneers twice plus knowing that Tampa Bay gave Suh No. 93 - the number he’d worn there for nine years - may have tipped things in Carolina’s favor.

3 Pro Bowlers on defensive line

As noted by Joe Person of The Athletic, the Panthers now have three Pro Bowlers on their defensive line, with McCoy joining Kawann Short and Dontari Poe.

Earlier Monday, Carolina coach Ron Rivera said he was “patiently waiting” for McCoy’s decision, and that he felt his team had a good chance with the 31-year-old, though he added the Ravens and Browns likely felt the same way.

While McCoy will play Tampa Bay twice, he won’t play in Florida: The Panthers-Buccaneers game this season will be played in London.

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