Nine seasons in the NFL, six Pro-Bowl selections, 55 sacks, 79 tackles for loss, 137 quarterback hits, six forced fumbles and 121 games and counting in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform. That is what Gerald McCoy has given us Bucs fans and the Bucs organization throughout his career. And what has he been given in return? Two winning seasons, zero playoff appearances, a revolving door of head coaches and unacceptable home game fan attendance and support for the most part.
Yet through it all, McCoy has remained the face of the franchise with a smile on his face. With the Bucs now missing the playoffs for the 11th straight year, is it time to trade McCoy to a contender and give him the shot in the playoffs that he deserves? Or do the Buccaneers continue to do the wrong thing and let him waste away his career on a team that is clearly a long ways from being contenders. There are a few things to consider when asking this question.
For His Own Sake, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Should Trade Gerald McCoy
Does He Want To Leave?
To begin, we must ask if McCoy would even want to be traded in the first place? He has been a Buccaneer icon and is heavily involved in the community. When I think of McCoy, I think of Larry Fitzgerald. A guy who is loyal to his team and will stick with them through the highs and lows and end his career where it began. Yes, Fitzgerald has had more team success, even making the Super Bowl, so maybe they aren’t exactly the same, but you get the gist.
McCoy has never had the opportunity to play a single playoff game, let alone partake in the Super Bowl. One has to think, no matter how involved he is and how much he may enjoy Tampa, almost every NFL player’s dream is to play in and win a Super Bowl. Going on 30 years old, I don’t foresee Tampa getting to that level while McCoy is still in his prime. His time may very well be limited as a playmaker at the defensive tackle position. He’s battled injuries these past few seasons and has given the Bucs organization all that he’s got, even playing through a torn biceps at one point. There is no question he deserves better, and I think if given the opportunity to play a part in where he lands, McCoy would definitely be open to a trade.
One thing you must always look at when discussing trades is the player’s salary and what teams can afford him. McCoy is signed through 2021 and set to become a free agent in 2022. He is set to make $13 million next year followed by $10 million in 2020 and $10.4 million in 2021. With guys like Aaron Donald getting signed to six-year, $135 million contracts, McCoy’s salary is reasonable for a player of his pedigree. One team that jumps out to me is the Indianapolis Colts, who according to spotrac.com, are projected to have the most salary cap space available, which makes a McCoy trade entirely possible.
Indianapolis is currently sporting an 8-6 record, but more importantly, Andrew Luck looks healthy and that offensive line looks greatly improved from last year. Add in the success of T.Y. Hilton, Marlon Mack, Quenton Nelson, and Eric Ebron, and the Colts offense looks, for the most part, in place. Rookie standout Darius Leonard has been phenomenal for the Colts at linebacker. But with Denico Autry and Margus Hunt as the top two defensive tackles on the roster, Indianapolis sure could use a playmaker and defensive leader of McCoy’s caliber. I’m sure if it gets out that McCoy was available, there would be interest around the league.
Impact on Buccaneers
Not only is McCoy one of the premier defensive tackles in the league, but he is a great locker room guy. The team feeds off his energy and listens when he speaks. He leads by example and works tirelessly at his craft and pushes others to do the same. As I stated earlier, he is very involved in the community and is doing his best to make a difference not only on the field but in Tampa Bay as well.
When it comes to on the field production, there is no one on the Bucs roster that can replace what McCoy does. Vita Vea was drafted as the heir apparent but struggled to stay healthy and has looked mediocre at best when on the field. Jason Pierre-Paul has thankfully been wonderful, as has Carl Nassib.
If they pair them on the outside, Tampa could move Vinny Curry inside and have a defensive tackle rotation of Vea, Curry, Allen, and Unrein to build around. That’s a solid rotation, and with Kwon Alexander, Lavonte David, and Kendell Beckwith finally healthy for next year, the front seven looks fantastic. Tampa could use whatever assets they gain from the McCoy trade to improve a horrific secondary, which is most likely losing Brent Grimes this off-season.
In conclusion, while Bucs fans love and appreciate everything McCoy has done for this organization, it’s time to pay him back and cut him free from the circus that is Buccaneers football. It would be better to watch him go elsewhere and win a Super Bowl than waste away the rest of his career in mediocrity. The Buccaneers clearly are not there as a team yet and could use whatever assets they gain from the trade to try and fix the secondary and offensive line, which are their two biggest needs.
A report surfaced earlier in the year that there were talks of Oakland sending a second-round draft pick for McCoy. While those talks never turned into anything, that would be a very acceptable haul for his services. Unless he wants to stay, it would be better for him to go to a winning organization.