The Cleveland Browns have officially missed out on defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. The former Tampa Bay Buccaneer may have given the Browns a blessing in disguise by picking Carolina out of left field during free agency.
Well, the Gerald McCoy sweepstakes have finally concluded. Adam Schefter officially announced the free agent defensive tackle’s decision on Monday afternoon, as the three leading teams in Cleveland, Baltimore, and Carolina held their collective breath. In a bit of a shocking development, McCoy chose the Carolina Panthers over both Baltimore and the Cleveland Browns.
The big D-tackle certainly chose the most surprising of the three teams, but the reasons as to why quickly became evident. Not only did the 31-year old Oklahoma product want to stay in the south, but he wanted to stay in the NFC South. The former Buccaneer clearly holds a grudge against his former team, who just as quickly gave his old No. 93 to Ndamukong Suh in free agency.
McCoy may have given the Browns a blessing in disguise here, both financially and logistically. The Panthers will be giving him a one-year, 10.25 million dollar contract for his services. Although the Browns could certainly handle this, it’s more likely that they would want to save the salary cap space on a multi-year deal for a homegrown talent, perhaps Myles Garrett.
Not only that, but the Browns essentially broke even on this deal when looking inside the division. Sure, they had a chance to get even better on the defensive side of the ball by signing McCoy, but the in-division rival Baltimore Ravens were also close in the running. By signing with a totally different, out of conference team, McCoy takes the pressure off the Browns. Cleveland doesn’t have to worry about dealing with his presence on another team twice a year.
The Browns had a chance to get better here, but they swung and missed, and that’s okay. With a team as vastly improved as Cleveland, it’s important to remember that they cannot win every big sweepstakes.
They got Odell Beckham Jr., Sheldon Richardson, and Olivier Vernon this offseason. The Browns are going to be just fine, with or without Gerald McCoy. Keeping him outside of the division is what’s important here, and Cleveland looks good for the future on that front.