Buccaneers Lock up DT Gerald McCoy For 7 Years
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers want to have a defense to be feared for years to come. They’re not quite there yet, but now they can get well on their way.
Per reports, the Bucs stayed the course by extending stud defensive tackle Gerald McCoy on Saturday afternoon. Easily Tampa Bay’s best defensive player, the defensive tackle and the team agreed to a massive seven-year, $98 million extension that will run through the 2021 NFL season.
The deal reportedly includes over $51 million in guaranteed money and makes McCoy the highest paid defensive tackle in league history.
McCoy was shaping up as an arguable bust early on in his career, as he notched just four sacks and missed 13 games across his first two years in the league. McCoy has paid off in every way since then, however, as he hasn’t missed a game over the past two and a half seasons and even had a career year in 2013 with nine sacks.
A brute force in the middle of Lovie Smith’s d-line that can pursue up the middle and get after the quarterback and also help to stop the run, McCoy was a crucial piece the Bucs needed to lock down for the long-term.
Looking ahead, Tampa Bay appears to have the tools needed to turn into a very dominant defense. The Bucs were already headed in that direction a year ago, but a shaky offense has played into them being an inconsistent unit so far in 2014.
McCoy himself even suggested this current unit is “soft” and that he plans on being a big part of why that label will change. It’s a safe bet, but it may take some time for the rest of the talent around McCoy to mesh together and form the elite unit the paper suggests they can.
Smith should be a huge part of the process, as well, but being just his first year with the teams, it may be unfair to demand such high expectations right away.
That being said, with McCoy locked up, solid coaching and hopefully another quality off-season, a talented Buccaneers defense could quickly turn back into an elite one in 2015.
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