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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs released DT Gerald McCoy Monday

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has played his last game as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.

This comes after a Monday night report first from Tampa Bay Times long-time Buccaneers beat writer Rick Stroud that the Bucs, will in fact, release the nine year veteran and save $13 million off of their salary cap in doing so:

McCoy, who made six consecutive Pro Bowls from 2012-2017 and is the Bucs former number 1 pick in 2010, still had three years remaining on a lucrative six year $95.2 million contract. However, none of the remaining money for this year or the future was guaranteed. So, there is only salary cap relief for the team.

The team confirmed the move later on Monday night:

As we have written repeatedly this off season, the Bucs were apparently trying to force McCoy to take a pay cut off his $13 million salary and had basically told him to stay away from the facility (where he would be risking injury guaranteeing his money) during the off season.

The first indication that the Buccaneers were playing contractual “Hard-ball” came at the NFL Owners meetings in March, when first year coach Bruce Arians publicly questioned whether McCoy would be back for a 10th season. Arians used the phrase, “if he’s here, he’s our starting 3 technique.”

The key part being , “if he’s here.”

McCoy enjoyed a lot of personal success in his Bucs career in terms of his stats (54.5 sacks) and the Pro Bowl recognition, 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, he was surrounded by numerous other defensive lineman, who were never going to start and/or play significantly for another NFL team. Three of those linemen who played significantly around McCoy were out of the NFL in 2018.

The Buccaneers traded for Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, signed free agents Vinny Curry (since released) 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 were just “okay” in 2018 with again six sacks and six tackles for losses.

It has been rumored that Tampa Bay and GM Jason Licht had been potentially trying to trade McCoy either at draft time or since, however, that never happened.

Tampa Bay is obviously taking a huge risk and is repeating a move that Licht and coach Lovie Smith made in their first season of 2014, when they released perennial Pro Bowl DB Darrelle Revis after just one season with him slated to make $16 million. Revis would not re-nogotiate his 2014 price tag, and the Bucs cut him to save money. Reavis took less money, but was named to the Pro Bowl, helped the Patriots win the Super Bowl, while the Bucs secondary floundered in a 2-14 season.

One team/situation that seems to immediately fit for McCoy would be in New Orleans for the Saints. That would be a division rival to pay back the Bucs for releasing him. And, it’s well known that McCoy spends his off seasons frequently working out in San Diego with QB Drew Brees, as they share the same trainer.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Positive injury update news for Bucs DT Vita Vea

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs coach Bruce Arians gave another positive update Sunday on one of his star defensive players he’s counting on to come back from injury. It looks like hulking defensive tackle Vita Vea is still on track to potentially play in the season opener September 8th.

After the Buccaneers Sunday morning training camp workout, Arians was asked, if there was any new news on Via resting and rehabbing the sprained ligament in his left knee? He told the media:

“He’s getting better and better everyday. No pain (in the knee). So, I’ve got my fingers crossed that he’s gonna be ready (opening day),” Arians said plainly.

The former first-round pick a year ago out of the University of Washington was injured almost two weeks ago in a one-on-one pass blocking drill, crumbling to the ground with the Bucs and their fans holding their breath. However it turns out it was only a sprain ligament that did not require surgery and Vea could still possibly play at the beginning of the regular season, including the opener with the 49ers.

Vea was seen walking on the sideline Friday night during the Bucs preseason game with the Dolphins with the aid of a heavily braced left knee.

This is the second straight training camp that Vea has been sidelined with a significant injury. Last year, he suffered a torn calf muscle on the second day of workouts and missed all of the preseason and the first three games of the regular season recovering from the injury and getting into playing shape.

When he did comeback, Vea came on strong in the second half of the season and began to show signs of promise, as to why the Bucs had picked him in the top 15 of the draft. He had a career high nine tackles in a December game in Baltimore and was all over the line of scrimmage and the backfield causing disruptions.

Then, in Dallas the following week, he was once again making plays early in the game. Although, he had a first-half sack Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott nullified by a face mask penalty, he got another one that counted by blindsiding Prescott on the final play of the first half.

Vea finished with three tackles, the sack and one tackle for loss in that game.  And, in the second half of the season, he ended up with 28 tackles with three sacks and five tackles for loss in eight games.

Vea is being heavily counted on to help the interior of the Bucs defensive line in new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ 3 – 4 defense. He along with new free agent pro bowl veteran Ndamukong Suh are going to be the guys relied upon to get pressure up the middle for the defense.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Report- Bucs have extended GM Jason Licht’s contract

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hoping to practice some form of continuity, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reportedly extended the contract of GM Jason Licht.

This after a report Saturday morning from Bucs beat writer for the Tampa Bay Times, Rick Stroud, that Licht has been given a five-year contract extension to remain with the team:

A big part of the reason why the Glazer family, which owns the team, wanted to keep Licht is: his ability to lure former Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians to come out of retirement and join them this past January.

Further, Stroud reports that Arians made it a condition of his coming out of retirement that Licht remain with the team long-term and that the Bucs keep embattled starting QB Jameis Winston.

Licht had been given a one-year extension for 2019 before this offseason, and the Buccaneers had already committed to keep quarterback Jameis Winston for the fifth year option of his rookie contract. Then, once former coach Dirk Koetter was fired in January, Licht’s previous relationship with Arians helped the Bucs get their new coach.

Licht was the assistant general manager with the Cardinals, when Arians was hired in 2013 and led them eventually to the NFC Championship Game in 2014.

Licht became the Buccaneers general manager at that the start of that same season, but has had a rocky tenure of results. This includes only one winning season out of five and several free agent moves and draft picks that have backfired.

None bigger than when Licht traded up in the 2016 draft for FSU kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round, only to have Aguayo falter and be released the following year in training camp.

Licht has also had free agent busts like former Redskins defensive tackle Chris Baker and last year, Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry. Both of whom we’re paid heavily but did nothing in their one season before being released.

Licht and his staff do deserve some credit for finding unheralded players like tight end Cameron Brate, running back Peyton Barber and former wide receiver Adam Humphries. All of whom were undrafted and have been quality contributors over the last couple of seasons.

The team had no official comment on Stroud’s report of the extension.

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