As many of you know, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers swapped out defensive tackles recently, releasing long-time force Gerald McCoy in exchange for a one-year, more cost friendly deal with Ndamukong Suh.
The move sends one of the league’s better defensive tackles into the free agent pool, and gives many an Atlanta Falcons fan dreams of landing such a big fish at this stage in the offseason.
Well, it looks like those dreams might be a little more realistic than any of us previously thought. It looks like Atlanta’s contemplating bringing in McCoy, at least in a sense.
Teams I’m hearing that have some level of interest in Gerald McCoy so far, per league sources: Bengals, Falcons, Patriots, Browns, Colts, Saints.— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) May 23, 2019
Now there are a lot of teams on that list McCoy could join, including the cash-flush Colts, upstart Browns and perennial contending Patriots (and, y’know, the Aints). Why McCoy would want to go to the Bengals is anyone’s guess, so we’ll leave them out for now.
It’s very reassuring to see the Falcons listed, and it certainly makes sense. His recent head coach Dirk Koetter is now with the Falcons, as is the coach who drafted him, Raheem Morris. Though, both are on the offensive side of the ball.
The Falcons have a need at defensive tackle, if maybe one not quite as bad as we all thought when you look at who’s present. Pairing McCoy next to Grady Jarrett would give the team a tandem of monster trucks in the middle to set the tone for the defense and would make fans feel a lot better about the unit as a whole.
But it’s going to be tough for Atlanta to pull this off. While they get some cap relief when the Ryan Schraeder deal comes off the books on June 1, the team still doesn’t have a ton of money to work with right now until the deals for Julio Jones and Jarrett are complete.
Also note that striking a deal with McCoy could make the Falcons’ negotiations for Jarrett just a little harder, in a “you just paid this guy a ton of money, so why can’t you pay my guy what we’re asking?” type of situation. No guarantees that’d be the case, though.
The Colts and Browns have plenty of cash to pay McCoy what he was making in Tampa Bay at the time of his release (if not a little more), and they could strike a multi-year contract to give him some assurance as he enters the latter part of his career.
The Patriots give him, well, a chance to play for the Patriots.
He’d have to be sold on Atlanta’s future, be interested in the idea of playing next to Jarrett and have fond memories of Koetter and Morris for this to work. He’d also probably have to take a little bit of a pay cut since other teams can absolutely compensate him more.
Maybe Dan Quinn, who’s convinced people to stick around in Flowery Branch before, could help here?
It’s a fun idea to think about, even if Atlanta is not the most likely destination for him to land. If this were to somehow work in the Falcons’ favor, you’d feel much better about the defensive line, which in turn makes it much easier to be confident in 2019’s prospects as a whole.
We’re just glad Atlanta’s reportedly giving this a go, regardless of the outcome.