“He’s too nice.”
“He disappears late in games.”
“He isn’t the player he used to be.”
Such criticisms have been thrown Gerald McCoy’s way for a number of years now, which is why news of him returning to the Buccaneers in 2019 was met with complaints from a segment of the fan base. Those complaints and criticisms are misplaced and, in some cases, just plain ignorant.
Does McCoy’s salary make up a large chunk of the team’s cap these days? Yes, it does. Has he earned that money and the right to be one of the team’s highest-paid players? Despite what some people want you to believe, yes, he has. His production has been plenty consistent in the last several years. Thomas Bassinger of the Tampa Bay Times provided this nugget on Monday, the same day McCoy turned 31:
Gerald McCoy is one of seven players who have recorded at least six sacks in every season since 2013. The others: Cameron Wake, Ryan Kerrigan, Carlos Dunlap, Chandler Jones, Cameron Jordan and Olivier Vernon. #Bucs— Thomas Bassinger (@tometrics) February 25, 2019
When you and only six other guys in the entire league have put together such consistency, you’re clearly doing something right. When you factor in the defensive schemes McCoy has played in, that’s pretty impressive.
And he did it while being asked to occupy OL to free up the LBs. It was not a system that is conducive to big sack numbers from the interior. Bowles attacking ideology is better suited to McCoy's skill set.— Ken Grant (@dat_BCB) February 23, 2019
McCoy has been double-teamed throughout most (if not all) of his career, yet he has continued to be a force for the Bucs up the middle. Considering the talent (or lack thereof) that he has had around him in Tampa Bay, what McCoy has done is even more impressive. The Oklahoma product is heading into his 10th season, and he ranks third in team history with 54.5 sacks. If he were to play at least two more seasons with the Bucs and average 7.5 sacks per year, he would tie Simeon Rice for second all-time. Are we seriously going to sit here and say he isn’t worth keeping around anymore?
With Bruce Arians coming in as the Buccaneers’ new head coach and an exciting staff coming along with him, things are looking up for the organization. There are plenty of reasons to believe that the front office will go out and add some nice talent to the defense, which would in turn help a standout player like No. 93. As James Yarcho wrote here, McCoy deserves a chance to see things through in Tampa Bay.
Is McCoy going to cost a lot if he doesn’t restructure his contract? Sure. Is the scheme fit a question at this stage of the offseason? Maybe it is. But is McCoy still producing at a high level? He sure is. Yeah, if I were the Buccaneers, I’d take my chances with him in 2019 too.