Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Gerald McCoy Saga


With the Buccaneers in serious cap trouble, Buccaneers great Gerald McCoy could be on his way out of Tampa. This article isn’t about if he stays or if he goes, this article is about the total failure of the Buccaneers organization to give the best player the Bucs have had since Derrick Brooks, his due.

Since the end of the draft, the organization seems to have ever so slightly backpedaled on McCoy leaving the building.  Coincidentally, the Bucs only drafted one defensive lineman because “That’s the way the board fell”.

The Lone Bright Spot

Since being drafted in 2010, Gerald McCoy has experienced instability in almost every facet.  First, it was the injuries. McCoy only played 19 games in his first two years in the league. After the rough start, it was the coaching instability as the Buccaneers have had five different head coaches in McCoy’s time in Tampa. As if that wasn’t enough instability, McCoy has also had six different defensive coordinators since joining the Bucs. Inconsistency in coaching has led McCoy having 54.5 career sacks, six pro bowls. How? The most common comparison for McCoy is the easiest one to see for Bucs fans, Warren Sapp. The difference? Warren Sapp had two different defensive coordinators in his time in Tampa. The Bucs organization has not been the picture of stability while he has been here.

Draft help?

Since 2010, Gerald McCoy has had little to no help along the defensive line. Here is a list of the top draft picks the Bucs have spent on the defensive line since the arrival of Gerald McCoy to the Bucs

2011: Adrian Clayborn (round one, pick 20), Daquan Bowers (round two, pick 19)

Combined career sacks while in Tampa: 20

2012: No picks spent on the defensive line

2013: Akeem Spence (round four, pick three)

Career sacks in Tampa: 5.5

2014: No picks spent on the defensive line

2015: No picks spent on the defensive line

2016: Noah Spence (round two, pick eight)

Career Sacks in Tampa: 6.5

2017: No picks in the top 200 spent on the defensive line (Stevie Tu’ikolovatu)

That’s about as bad as it gets. To tally it up for you, the Bucs draft picks in the top 100 since 2011 on the defensive line, have totaled 35 career sacks. With just a couple more sacks, McCoy nearly doubles their total.

Free Agent Or Trade Help?

Digging in the graveyard that is the Buccaneers free agency or trade acquisitions since 2011, doesn’t help much either. Here’s a list of some of the names with sack totals in parenthesis: Larry English (1, 1 year), Clinton Mcdonald (13.5, 3 years), Henry Melton (2, 1 year), George Johnson (0, 3 years), Michael Johnson (4, 1 year), Chris Baker (.5, 1 year), Will Clarke (2.5, 2 years), Robert Ayers (8.5, 2 years). Those are just some of the names Tampa has brought in to “help” Gerald McCoy. Let’s check the score board, Gerald McCoy: 54.5, all those guys: 31. The best “help” he has had while in Tampa was Michael Bennett who accounted for 15 sacks, but Gerald missed some time with him due to injury.

Until Jason Pierre Paul arrived last year, the closest the Bucs had been to 10 sacks was nine from Michael Bennett in 2012. McCoy has 79 tackles for a loss in his career to go with 21 passes defensed. McCoy has been selected to six pro bowls which is tied for third in Buccaneers history behind only Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp.

Why The Disrespect?

Look, I understand the NFL is a business. The league is driven by success, something McCoy has not had much of in his tenure. The Bucs are in a tight cap situation and 13 million off the books would go a long way in helping out the the organization. That being said, the organization has disrespected Gerald McCoy multiple times this off-season and it has been disappointing to say the least. From reports that the team was “trying hard to trade him” to saying “he’s not as disruptive as he was four years ago, but he’s still a good player”, the Bucs needed to do better. Interestingly enough, although Jason Pierre Paul finished with 12.5 sacks, according to PFF, McCoy was the Bucs highest graded defender. Gerald McCoy finished with a 78.6 grade and also finished in the top 30 in both run defense and total QB pressures according to PFF. Meanwhile, Jason Pierre Paul finished with a 60.1 rating overall. Looks like McCoy is as sharp as ever and guess what? He finally has some help.

Final Thoughts

All things considered, its highly likely that McCoy has played his last game in a Buccaneers uniform. I don’t blame Bruce Arians or Jason Licht, I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Glazers for not handling this situation they way it should be handled. Treating Gerald McCoy as if he was a rotational defensive tackle and not the centerpiece of the Buccaneers for the past decade, is wrong. A few days ago, Licht responded to a question about not addressing the defensive line on day two of the draft, his response was telling “The way the board fell…. We love JPP, Carl Nassib, we signed Shaq Barrett for a reason and we have been pleasantly surprised with Noah. We love Vita….”. The statement was not the first of it’s kind. If Gerald must go, let him go now. Trade him to a contender. Do something other than allow this saga to continue to drag on in Tampa. Gerald McCoy deserves much better than veiled comments and a non committal coaching staff.