It's not just defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul who is in Tampa Bay. For entirely different reasons not at all related to an injury, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy's status with the Buccaneers is also in doubt.
On Friday night, when McCoy was asked by Mike Cairns of Spectrum Sports 360 if he would be playing for the team in 2019, he said, "I will be playing football somewhere."
"I don't know," he said when he was asked if he'll be with the Buccaneers. "We'll see."
McCoy, the third-overall pick back in 2010, has spent his entire career with the Buccaneers. He's been remarkably productive with 54.5 sacks, six Pro Bowl nods, and one first-team All-Pro selection. The problem is McCoy, now 31, is owed $13 million in 2019, $12.5 million in 2020, and $12.9 million in 2021. According to Spotrac, the Buccaneers can cut him at any point without suffering a financial hit.
And it's not clear if the Buccaneers feel like McCoy is worth the money.
"He's not as disruptive as he was four years ago, but he's still a good player," new coach Bruce Arians said in March, per ESPN.
Arians also pointed to McCoy's age and cap hit as a potential problem.
"Um ... probably a better question for [general manager] Jason [Licht] because the financials are part of it," Arians said. "I've gotta evaluate him. Guy's up there in age, it's different. It's usually the age when they're getting paid the most, and production and [pay] don't match. So we've gotta find that out."
At the time, ESPN reported that the Buccaneers would consider trading McCoy if they got an attractive offer.
The problem is, if the Buccaneers are trying to win now, they might not be able to afford parting ways with McCoy after already on a defense that was arguably the worst in football, Pierre-Paul led the team in sacks with 12.5. McCoy ranked third with six sacks. If neither Pierre-Paul nor McCoy plays for the Buccaneers in 2019, they'll be missing two players who combined for 49 percent of their sack output in 2018.that could prevent him from taking the field for 5-6 months, if not longer. Last season,
But money is tight for the Buccaneers, who rank dead last in available cap space. That's why they could move on from McCoy.
If McCoy is available, he should have suitors. Despite his age, he's still one of the better defensive tackles in football. He ranks fourth in sacks among defensive tackles since he entered the league in 2010; only Geno Atkins, Aaron Donald, and Ndamukong Suh have more. And he was the Buccaneers' highest-graded player on defense last season, according to Pro Football Focus. He might not be worth $13 million to the Buccaneers, but another team with more cap space might feel different.
Leaving Tampa Bay might also be the best thing for him. Though the Buccaneers did well to add linebacker Devin White in the draft, their defense is still full of holes. Though they did well to , they don't really look like a playoff-caliber team. Given McCoy's age, he might be better off playing for a contender, and the Buccaneers might be better off getting draft picks for him and turning those picks into players who can help them build for a better future.