These are interesting times for the Buccaneers defensive leader of the last decade, Gerald McCoy. The former first-round pick and six time Pro Bowler is essentially in NFL “salary cap limbo” at the moment.
And he continues to post on social media with thoughts about his situation and future. The latest example was an Instagram post from McCoy on Wednesday afternoon metaphorically referring to battling through storms or hard times:
That’s McCoy walking in the rain to head into the Buccaneers facility.
So, is that just an inspirational message to those that follow him on social media and to those that have been covering and observing his career in Tampa Bay? Or is he giving insight into the professional situation that he’s in? We at F.F.I. think it’s more of the latter.
It’s a nine year career that has seen McCoy enjoy a lot of personal success in terms of his stats (54.5 sacks), but very little team success, as the Bucs have only had two winning seasons while he’s been battling in the trenches of their defense.
Specifically, the last two years overall were horrible for the Buccaneers defense under coordinator Mike Smith. The 2017 defense was the worst in the NFL in yards allowed and had the fewest sacks of any NFL team.
McCoy was virtually the lone bright spot with six of those, plus another 13 tackles for loss. Yet was surrounded by numerous other defensive lineman, who were never going to start and play significantly for another NFL team.
Fast forward to 2018 with a Buccaneers having traded for Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, signed free agents Vinny Curry and Beau Allen from the Philadelphia Eagles, and drafted Washington massive defensive tackle Vita Vea to bolster their line. The personnel upgrades were there.
Yet, again, Smith’s scheme was awful and the Buccaneers had the worst pass defense and scoring defense in the NFL at the point in which Smith was fired mid-season. McCoy’s numbers and impact we’re just “okay” in 2018 with again six sacks and six tackles for losses.
However, under the interim defensive coordinator, Mark Duffner, the defense overall improved slightly and the Bucs became more competitive. They ended up eventually winning a couple of games and giving some hope that they might get into the playoff chase in December. That’s something that McCoy and longtime Pro Bowl caliber linebacker teammate Lavonte David have never tasted with the Bucs.
Pierre-Paul finished with 12.5 sacks, the most for a Buccaneer since 2005. Vea blossomed over the last eight games of the year and appears to be a solid defensive tackle with great potential to grow.
Still, they faltered as a team and lost their remaining four games to finish 5 – 11 for the second straight year.
So now the question becomes, with Coach Dirk Koetter fired, but GM Jason Licht retained, and a new coaching staff led by Bruce Arians hired, is McCoy part of their plans?
He turns 31 next month, he is slated to make 13 million in salary for 2019, but that money is not guaranteed.
So, much like we wrote on Wednesday about Jaguars veteran Pro Bowl defensive lineman Calais Campbell, McCoy may be in line to renegotiate for lesser overall money. However, he would get some guarantee in the form of signing or reporting bonus for this year. In that case both sides would win.
There’s also been much speculation that new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who will be the six different defensive coordinator the Bucs have had since McCoy was drafted in 2010, runs a 3 – 4 scheme that may not suit McCoy.
McCoy definitely was tweeting about that possibility and whether he would embrace it, just last week:
A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you're in and take advantage of it.
— Gerald McCoy (@Geraldini93) January 17, 2019
If you thought the first tweet was not in reference to football, then there’s no ambiguity about a tweet the following day about playing in different schemes in the NFL:
4-3, 3-4, 5-2, Nose guard, 3-tech, DE, doesn’t matter. Either you can play football or you can’t. PERIOD!!
— Gerald McCoy (@Geraldini93) January 18, 2019
So now we wait to see what the Bucs will work to do.
One big factor in this is McCoy is tremendous in the Tampa Bay community and the owners of the team, the Glazers, have been fiercely loyal to long-time members on the playing field for them, recently. They allowed the likes of Ronde Barber, Derrick Brooks and Mike alstott to finish their careers, as Buccaneers working out contractual details with all of them.
There is another factor, as well: if the Bucs choose to get rid of McCoy, there are numerous teams including in their own division, the NFC South, there will be more than happy to plug him in.
And McCoy would likely be the best defensive lineman on a couple of those teams, too.
And you have to believe that the Glazers and Licht, are fully aware of that potentially disastrous scenario of McCoy burning them with future impact on another rival team, too.
So, now we wait on what, if anything, gets done about McCoy and his money and a possible restructured new deal that keeps him in Tampa Bay.
And, we also continue to pay attention to what the hulking defensive tackle has to say online, while we do so.
Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston
It’s become increasingly apparent, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to move on from potential free agent quarterback Jameis Winston. And Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, coach Bruce Arians gave the latest example that he and the Buccaneers front office will look at the other options available first.
Arians spoke at a podium on numerous subjects, but the most prominent is what Tampa Bay will do in the coming days with Winston?
— Charlie Clifford (@cliffWISH8) February 25, 2020
Arians was asked directly about potential for a franchise tag for his starter a year ago and what the Bucs might proceed to do? But, he refused to endorse that option on the former number one overall pick Winston. And, the Bucs coach maintained that the team will possibly us the franchise tag for defensive end Shaq Barrett.
Further, Arians gave a pointed specific answer on Winston’s poor play last December as the team finished 7-9 and that has the team looking at other options,
Arians on Winston and why it’s still uncertain: “December wasn’t what I wanted to see.”
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
Arians has consistently refused back Winston since the off-season began. This included at an NFL coaching seminar earlier this month in Tampa. He said to the media at that time:
“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”
“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option?
The Buccaneers faltered in the middle of the season to drop to 3-7 and then, Winston and Co. blew its final two games to finish 7 – 9 with Winston throwing a career-high 30 interceptions.
After their final loss at home to Atlanta in overtime, where Winston threw the game losing “pick six,” Arians was candid after the final game by saying about Winston’s play that it would have to be evaluated pass by pass and game by game in the off-season. Further, he told the media then, that there “was some great and some terrible…. and you have to decide, if the great outweighs the terrible.”
While Winston did throw for a career-high 5000 + yards in 2019, his interceptions and total turnovers continued to be his downfall throughout the season. The Buccaneers finished 1 – 6 in games against teams with winning records and Winston had 17 total turnovers in those seven games. He finished with the 30 picks that included 10 of them in the Bucs final four games.
Tampa Bay obviously will have the opportunity to go after a free agent quarterback or two, as there is much speculation about the likes of Tom Brady with the Patriots. Plus, Philip Rivers will not be re-signed by the Chargers and is available come March. And, now that Drew Brees has announced he wants to play at least one more year for the Saints, their backup Teddy Bridgewater will be in demand on the market.
The Bucs are also continuing the evaluating the QB class for the Draft the next few days in Indy, which could have some interesting names still available in the second and third rounds and beyond.
Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020
On Monday, the Bucs confirmed what they have been hinting at, they will have new uniforms in 2020. But the real question is: what does “new” mean in this instance?
We heard you!
New uniforms coming April 2020. pic.twitter.com/e7qNUsNWZb
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) February 24, 2020
The Bucs also released a statement through their website confirming that April will be the unveiling of the new uniforms, as well as, potential new color scheme, logo, etc. and had these comments from co – owner, Ed Glazer:
“We have heard the feedback from our fans loud and clear and have been working with the NFL and our league partners at Nike to usher in a new look as we enter this next decade of Buccaneers football. We look forward to revealing more details in the near future about our official unveiling event which will take place later this spring.”
As we wrote earlier this month, the Buccaneers have been hinting at trying to enhance their uniforms and there is some belief there will be more orange, the original color of the franchise. There is also educated speculation that the team may go back to a white helmet, which will enable them to have “throwback uniform games” that they’ve not been able to have for the last seven seasons.
This is because under league concussion protocol, players must have the same helmet all season and the Bucs primary one has been pewter in color since their chance in colors and logo in 1997,
The Bucs last altered their uniforms in 2014 by brightening the color red and slightly changing the logo and making it bigger on their pewter helmet. Teammates Ryan Jensen and Mike Evans are shown in the current color scheme, etc. above.
NFL teams have to submit changes in their colors and logos a year in advance. So obviously, this has been in the works for the Glazer family that owns the team for some time.
It should be noted that the Buccaneers NFC South Rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, have already made mention that they are changing their uniforms and color scheme. And, it’s believed that they will go back in 2020 to their original base color of red including possibly red helmets and potentially, primarily gray pants that they wore for over twenty years.
The Falcons have had black helmets for the better part of 30 years going back to Jerry Glanville changing the color scheme to primarily black jerseys in his days at the Falcons coach in the early 1990s.
Back to the Bucs. There is no other team in the NFL that has orange as their primary jersey color. The Bengals Broncos and Browns have occasionally worn orange “alternate jerseys” but not full time.
So, if the Glazers are again embracing a change to mostly orange jerseys, it will be unique. The video Monday showed a red jersey on a sewing machine, which could be a clue or could be misdirection of what the team actually intends to unveil in April.