There was a stretch from 2012-17 where Gerald McCoy was one of the NFL’s very best defensive tackles, making the Pro Bowl at the end of all six seasons for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In 2018, he missed the Pro Bowl for the first time since his second year in the NFL. It might’ve been his last with the Buccaneers, too.
With a new coaching staff in tow — led by defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, a former Eagles assistant — the Buccaneers’ defense is switching schemes to a 3-4 defense and McCoy might not be a fit. As such, it seems McCoy could be on his way out.
Per ESPN: Gerald McCoy, who is due to make $13 million next year (none guaranteed) if he remains on the roster, would line up on the outside as a three-technique, opposite a player such as William Gholston, who may truly be a better fit as a player in a 3-4 scheme. Given that the Bucs are about $16.5 million under the salary cap going into 2019, there is a real chance McCoy won’t return.
McCoy remains productive — he had six sacks in 2018, the sixth time he’s done so — but the Buccaneers would save $13 million without incurring any cap penalties by releasing him, so he might be hitting the open market.
Could the Eagles be a possible landing spot for McCoy?
It makes some sense, but it largely depends on the team’s plans for Timmy Jernigan going forward.
The 26-year-old missed all but three games this season due to a back injury he suffered away from the team in the offseason. When Jernigan returned, he clearly made an impact, but he’s also due $13 million in 2019. The Eagles can get out from under that salary cap figure by simply declining his team option and saving that money to help get under the cap.
McCoy, 30, would likely come cheaper, and might desire joining an actual playoff contender — the defensive tackle has never played in the postseason, and certainly never next to a player like All-Pro Fletcher Cox.
Another reason the Eagles might want to consider the switch from Jernigan to McCoy — he has only missed more than three games once in a nine-year career.
Of course, any possible marriage between the Eagles and McCoy can’t transpire until (or if) McCoy is actually released.