Per multiple sources around the league, Gerald McCoy and his $13 million contract will still be in Tampa for now. Many fans were divided over the future of the long-term face of the Bucs’ defense, those horrified by losing McCoy and those thinking about cap room. Whilst it is true that the contract dragging behind McCoy is cumbersome, accounting for nearly 20% of the D payroll, the value he brings is more than monetary cost. New Bucs head coach Bruce Arians has accurately remarked that McCoy is still a player whom an offense has to account for, which is a valuable commodity in the NFL. The focus will allow his teammates to develop and shine around him.
Alas, to every day there is a night, and Tampa’s night is just $16 million in cap space. Whilst there is considerable fat to be trimmed from the Buccaneers’ roster, Arians has stated that this Bucs team is talented and he isn’t rebuilding. Cameron Brate is holding on to a hefty $7 million deal, so he might be prime cut bait seeing as he’ll be a backup mostly. However, sources close to Arians say he’s intrigued by two pass-catching TEs and wants to see what they bring to his offense.
With so many of their own free agents to sign there are going to be casualties. Kwon Alexander, Donovan Smith and Adam Humphries sit atop that list. Smith is likely to take the franchise tag as that will be a year-long prove-it deal. Alexander is probably the next priority after Smith, but he won’t come cheap, either.
When the dust has settled, retaining Gerald McCoy is likely to cost DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries from the pool of potential starters as well as a depth player or two. Is that a fair deal? Only time will tell, but for many fans, seeing some players sacrificed on the altar of the salary cap for just one player might be a bitter pill to swallow.