The Cleveland Browns have been connected to Gerald McCoy for the past couple of weeks, and they will reportedly be a player during his free agency.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to cut the productive 31-year-old instead of paying him the $13 million he was due this season, providing them with the cap relief they needed.
Tuesday morning, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reported that the Browns were not interested in trading for McCoy. But because they can now negotiate the terms of a deal with McCoy, they are interested in acquiring his services.
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However, the Browns will have competition, as Cabot reported the New England Patriots have also inquired about adding McCoy. The Patriots have made a living off adding talented veterans who become available at a discounted rate and can still play a big role on the field.
McCoy has never reached the playoffs in his nine-year career, so signing with a playoff contender will be important for the defensive tackle. But as ESPN’s Adam Schefter notes, McCoy still wants to make money wherever he signs.
Despite the Buccaneers wanting to move on from his high salary, McCoy remains one of the most productive interior defensive linemen in the league. In 14 games last season, McCoy made 28 total tackles, six tackles for loss, six sacks, and 21 quarterback hits.
Although the Browns already have Larry Ogunjobi and Sheldon Richardson to man the interior of their defensive line, adding McCoy would provide a three-man rotation that could make life miserable for opposing offensive lines.
Last season, the Cleveland Browns struggled with depth along the defensive front, which impacted the team’s effectiveness stopping the run. Being able to add McCoy to a defensive line that already consists of Ogunjobi, Richardson, Myles Garrett, and Olivier Vernon would help Cleveland boast one of the most complete defensive lines in the AFC North.
McCoy is strong against the run, but can also get in the backfield and create problems for quarterbacks. With a defensive line as stacked as Cleveland’s, McCoy would have more one-on-one blocking opportunities to take advantage of to try to get in the backfield.
McCoy will have his options in free agency and he may decide to take visits instead of signing with a team right away. But if the Browns are interested in signing McCoy, they may do whatever they can to bring the defensive tackle to Cleveland.