The six-time Pro Bowler is a free agent after being released by Tampa Bay
With Memorial Day approaching that means NFL teams are getting OTAs and minicamps underway, and even making some occasional roster adjustments. And it was one of those roster adjustments that took place this week. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to part ways with defensive tackle Gerald McCoy with reports that the team will sign Ndamukong Suh to a one-year deal to replace him. McCoy had three years remaining on his contract and was set to be paid $13 million this season. His salary, none of which was guaranteed, appears to have played a role in his release as Tampa Bay is already up against the salary cap and hasn't signed first-round pick Devin White (fifth overall).
Regardless of what led to the separation, McCoy is now on the open market and teams will be eager to bring him in. While McCoy has played in a 4-3 alignment ever since his college days at Oklahoma, his size (6-4, 300) and lateral quickness can help him adjust to a 3-4 scheme. Since being selected third overall by the Bucs in 2010, McCoy has totaled 297 tackles, 79 tackles for a loss, 54.5 sacks, 140 quarterback hits, 22 pass deflections, six forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries. He's been named first-team All-Pro three times and is a six-time Pro Bowler. He has showcased his ability to defend both the run and pass many times over and still has plenty of quality games left in him.
Here are five teams that appear to be good fits for adding McCoy to their defensive line:
The Browns have already made splashes on both sides of the ball through trades and the draft. Even after adding Odell Beckham Jr., Kareem Hunt, Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson (among others), to their roster, Cleveland still has more than $33 million available in cap space, according to Spotrac.com. Some Browns have already publicly campaigned for McCoy to come join them so it may be just a matter of time before Cleveland adds even more star power to its roster.
The Colts went heavy on defense during last month's draft. But they still have nearly $58 million in cap space to work with so they can afford to sign McCoy and add him to the mix. McCoy would bolster a defensive front and improve a pass rush that finished in the middle of the pack with 38 sacks last season. If McCoy comes to Indianapolis, he would join a defense that already features All-Pro and 2018 Defensive Rookie of the Year Darius Leonard and added four-time Pro Bowler and 2014 sack champion Justin Houston in free agency.
San Francisco 49ers
If any team could use a boost on defense, it's the 49ers. But while they did bring new talent for that side of the ball in the draft, their division rivals addressed their offenses at the same time. And with plenty ($35 million) of cap space still available, San Francisco should be able to afford McCoy. The only question would be whether or not McCoy wants to join a team that may not be ready to contend for a playoff spot this year.
New York Jets
Imagine if the Jets were to pair McCoy with this year's third overall pick, Quinnen Williams, as well as 2015 first-rounder Leonard Williams. That would be quite the defensive line to deal with and a sight that new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams would no doubt love to see. New York has cap space ($29 million) so bringing on McCoy could be the first big splash move new head coach makes after assuming the title of interim general manager following the dismissal of Mike Maccagnan on May 15.
While the Seahawks did address some defensive needs in the draft, McCoy would be a welcome addition up front. McCoy could make it easier for Seattle to move on without Frank Clark, last season's sacks leader who was traded to Kansas City prior to the draft. The Seahawks have some other contract-related issues to deal with but still may be able to find room to add McCoy to the mix as they look to battle the Rams for supremacy in the NFC West.
— Gabe Salgado is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He's a co-host of The Rewind Sports: 60. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.