One of the biggest questions currently surrounding the Buccaneers organization this off-season is: Will longtime Buccaneer Gerald McCoy be wearing the red and pewter in 2019?
McCoy is due $13 million dollars this season, and it’s no secret that the Bucs are strapped for cash on the cap front. So, parting ways with McCoy and freeing up that money is something many fans have called for simply based on a financial standpoint. Many often fail to take into consideration that a player as talented as McCoy isn’t easily replaced, and there is no guarantee that the team would be able to find someone of his caliber this season if he were to be released.
When asked by Mike Cairns of Spectrum Bay News if he would play this year, McCoy responded that he “will be playing football somewhere.” When asked specifically about playing in Tampa, McCoy responded:
“I don’t know, we’ll see. The fans know I love them, I’ll be on the field at some point.”
The coaching staff has been no help in clarifying the McCoy situation when asked if he’d like to have McCoy, Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles responded:
“That decision is above my pay grade.”
Earlier this year at the NFL Coach’s Breakfast during the annual league meeting, Head Coach Bruce Arians gave his take on McCoy, stating:
“I’ve got to evaluate him. Guys at a certain age, it’s different. Usually, the age where they get paid the most and production doesn’t match. We’ve got to find that out. He’s not as disruptive as he was four years ago. He’s still a good player. If he’s here, he’s our starting three, no doubt about that. You still see his enthusiasm for the game, if he still has that, I’m fine.”
The situation took a different turn, however, when Jason Pierre Paul was injured and is projected to be out 5-6 months, leaving a huge need on the defensive line.
McCoy has yet to be asked to take a pay cut, which is always an option in dealing with the salary cap woes, and he has failed to show up to the OTAs (Organized Team Activities). However, these are completely voluntary and give no indication of a player’s intent by choosing to prepare for the season in his own way.
LAvonte David addressed McCoy’s absence from OTAs:
“Everybody around here loves Gerald. Gerald is a vet. Upstairs and Gerald have been having constant communication, I’m sure, about why he’s not here. Gerald is a vet. Everybody knows how Gerald carries himself, so when he comes back, he’s going to be full throttle. I don’t only see Gerald as a teammate. I see him as a brother and one of my closest friends, so I know he is capable of it and he will be ok.”
When Lavonte David was asked if he believed McCoy was going to be a Buccaneers this year he replied,
“There is a business side of it and a personal side of it. Personally, I know he wants to be here and he’s going to work his tail off like he is playing this year. Business side of it, I don’t know what’s going on.”
McCoy has been a fan favorite since his arrival in Tampa, and his impact on the community is felt year round. So, regardless of how the situation plays out, there’s more at stake than simply a game, and an impact that is felt beyond the field.
There is certainly no lack of speculation when it comes to Gerald McCoy and his future as not only a Buccaneer but also as a football player in general.
The question still remains: Will Gerald McCoy will remain a Buccaneer, or will he set sail for a new destination?