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Gerald McCoy chooses Carolina Panthers

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Former Buccaneers Pro Bowl free agent Gerald McCoy will get to go regularly against his old team. This after the free-agent has decided to stay in the NFC South and sign with the Carolina Panthers.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter had the news late Monday afternoon that McCoy had decided to play in Charlotte for the upcoming season after having visited the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens:

McCoy was slated to make $13 million non guaranteed this season in Tampa Bay. The Panthers have just over $18 million in salary-cap room for the season, according to Spotrac.com on Monday.

NFL Network insider, Ian Rapoport had the contract details first Monday evening breaking down the one year deal with incentives:

McCoy, who made six consecutive Pro Bowls from 2012-2017 and was the Bucs former number one pick (third overall) 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, the new coaching staff led by Bruce Arians took the salary cap relief  by making the move.

Meanwhile, the Buccaneers moved on from McCoy by signing free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to a one year $9 million deal and he met with the media on Friday for the first time. Suh was drafted by Detroit one spot in front of McCoy in 2010 and played for the NFC champion Rams on a one year deal in 2018. Suh had remained a free agent since the Rams did not re-sign him off his one year 2018 deal.

The Bucs and new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles are implementing his 3-4 defensive scheme and obviously feel that Suh is better suited to play in, especially against the run. The Bucs also spent their first round pick on defensive tackle Vita Vea in 2018 and he came on strong at the end of last season.

Suh also announced Monday through social media, that he will take McCoy’s number 93 for this season:

Back to McCoy. He will get to be on the field with Carolina for mini-camp later this week. And he will obviously get two cracks at playing the Bucs and QB Jameis Winston this season starting with a Thursday night game in September in Charlotte. The next matchup is in October in London.

NFL

Florida Attorney General files appeal in Robert Kraft case

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Attorney General has appealed a lower court ruling throwing out the video in New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft solicitation of prostitution case from Palm Beach this past January.

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office just beat the Tuesday night October 1st deadline to file with Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals on the previous lower court ruling.

The 50 page legal brief concludes that authorities in Palm Beach County were within their right to obtain video surveillance of Kraft and numerous others having sex acts performed on them during a five day period in January at the “Orchids of Asia” Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.

Kraft, the 78 year old owner of the Patriots, was allegedly captured on video on back-to-back days engaging in the illegal sex acts.

The Boston Globe obtained the legal brief which quoted Moody’s office,

“Based on video captured by surveillance cameras police installed in the Spa pursuant to a warrant, Mr. Kraft’s guilt is a virtual certainty.”

Kraft lawyers were not available for comment on the appeal to the paper Wednesday morning.

Kraft’s defense team won the key ruling to suppress the video for his case with circuit Judge Robert Hanser. In May Hanser agreed that the so-called “Sneak-and-Peek warrant” that the police officials obtained did not take enough precautions to protect the privacy of those who were going into the massage parlor and receiving legitimate massages.

The five-day surveillance netted charges against 25 men on solicitation of prostitution and lewd and lascivious conduct. Numerous ones of them have already plead guilty.

Kraft, who has a home in Palm Beach, was in the day spa just hours before he flew to Kansas City for the Patriots overtime AFC Championship Game win against the Chiefs that put them into Super Bowl 53.

The legal brief asserts that Kraft was not entitled to argue to the court about the rights of all of the defendants or anyone else that was surveilled on the video. Instead, Moody’s office wrote,

“Mr. Kraft lacks standing to vicariously assert the Fourth Amendment rights of third parties … Second, in no event would Mr. Kraft be entitled to total suppression of all video in the case; rather, he would be entitled to suppress only the unlawfully seized videos, a class which would not include the video evidence of his own prostitution offenses.”

In other words, he is only allowed to argue about his own situation and Hanser ruled incorrectly on that point.

Kraft’s side now has 30 days to respond. The appeals court is expected to rule later this winter and if they do so in favor of the Attorney General and the prosecutors, then the video may end up being released to the public even before a trial.

That is because, as we have detailed throughout this process earlier this year, defendants in Florida caught under any type of video surveillance in alleged criminal acts are not exempt from having that video released, even if they have not been tried or convicted.

Numerous local and national media outlets filed with the Palm Beach County Court to have the video released and that case is also still pending because of Hanser’s previous May ruling.

More serious than they likely fine, community service, etc. that Kraft might receive as punishment, is the possible discipline from the NFL under the personal conduct policy.

That could include fines and suspension, but the NFL traditionally waits for legal proceedings to finish first.

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NFL

Dolphins at home- Jags and Bucs out West Sunday

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Week number four in the NFL has two of the state teams on the road out West and the other hosting a West Coast team in South Florida.

We begin with the Dolphins, off to their most miserable start in franchise history at 0 – 3 and having been blown out at all three games. They will play host to the L.A. Chargers.

The Chargers are struggling themselves having lost their last two games, including to Houston last week at home. Miami will keep Josh Rosen in at quarterback, and he played adequately in Dallas, despite the team only kicking two field goals.

The Chargers will welcome back their starting Pro Bowl running back, Melvin Gordon, who has ended his 9-week holdout seeking a new contract. Gordon is only expected to play sparingly, if at all.

The Jaguars, off a win over the Titans 10 days ago on Thursday Night Football, travel to Mile High to take on the Broncos. The biggest question mark is: defensive back Jalen Ramsey, who has an ongoing soap opera with the team about whether he is going to be traded?

Ramsey also apparently has a back and hamstring injuries and is listed as questionable for the game. However, he did travel with the team and may be out there playing this afternoon.

The Jacksonville pass rush registered nine sacks on Tennessee in the home win and now will try to get after Joe Flacco Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew has developed a connection with second-year receiver D.J. Chark hitting him with a TD in each of the last two games. And we’ll see if his “Minshew Magic” with throws and occasionally his feet, can continue in a difficult place to play.

Finally, the Buccaneers travel farther out west to Los Angeles to take on the unbeaten Rams.

Tampa Bay is still reeling from giving up an 18-point lead at home to lose to the Giants. This included, getting into easy field goal range only to have kicker Matt Gay miss it with no time left.

Wide receiver Mike Evans had a tremendous game with 190 yards and three touchdowns. However, he will likely be locked up with Pro Bowl DB Aqib Talib, who was originally drafted by the Buccaneers in 2008.

And, as we wrote earlier this week, the Bucs must contend with the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in defensive tackle, Aaron Donald. Trying to slow him down/keep him out of QB Jameis Winston’s face will be big.

And, on offense, the Rams have a high-powered attack led by QB Jared Goff and RB Todd Gurley is already looking running early in this season.

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