NFL - National Football League

05/20/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 05/20/2019 17:42

Bucs releasing Gerald McCoy after nine seasons

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are moving on from the senior-most member of their defense.

Tampa Bay is releasing defensive tackle Gerald McCoy after nine seasons with the club, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times first reported the news.

The 31-year-old had three years remaining on his contract with the Bucs and was owed $13 million in 2019 prior to his release. Not that he's off the roster, McCoy will count nothing against Tampa Bay's cap.

McCoy had appeared to be on the outs in Tampa Bay ever since the Annual League Meeting when new Bucs coach Bruce Arians told reporters that McCoy had not been as disruptive in recent years. Tampa Bay had reportedly been attempting to trade McCoy but apparently found no suitors to take on his $13 million salary.

The defensive tackle seemed to know the end was near, as well. When asked last week whether he'd suit up for the Bucs in 2019, McCoy said, 'I will be playing football somewhere. ... The fans know I love them. I'll be on the field at some point.'

Though his falling-out in Tampa Bay might suggest otherwise, McCoy hasn't been unproductive in recent years. The defensive tackle has amassed at least five sacks in each of the last seven seasons, the league's longest active streak among DTs. Since 2010, McCoy has 50.5 sacks, the third-most among all defensive tackles. His six Pro Bowl selections since 2012 are tied with Cincinnati's Geno Atkins for the most among defensive lineman.

McCoy's potential replacement in Tampa Bay could be one familiar to the defensive tackle. The Bucs could go after free-agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, the second overall pick in the 2010 draft; McCoy was third overall. Suh made $14 million last season on a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Rams.

The Bucs were in need of reinforcements on the defensive line even before letting McCoy go. Starting defensive end Jason Pierre-Paulcould miss up to six months with a neck injury suffered in a car accident earlier this month.

As for McCoy, the defensive tackle figures to have many suitors. McCoy had been mentioned as a Cleveland Browns target in trade talks, but with his $13 million salary no longer on the table, other teams might start inquiring about his services.