The Cleveland Browns have made significant additions to their defensive line this offseason, overshadowed by their acquiring of wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. but the insertion of Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson to pair with Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi makes their front four a very formidable duo, at least on paper.
Still, rumors persist that the team is interested in acquiring former All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And the fact that McCoy doesn’t seem to be certain about where he will be playing this season does nothing to dispel those rumors, as should not be surprising.
According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the belief is that the Browns remain interested in acquiring McCoy, and they continue to believe that getting something done is realistic. The concern is more offer the financial terms rather than any worries about his potential effectiveness on the field.
The belief is that the Buccaneers cannot afford McCoy on his current contract, which will hit them at a rate of about $13 million per season over the next three years. They likely will have to either rework his deal in some way or release him if they are unable to execute a trade for him.
While there is some mutual interest from both sides in getting something done, neither is in a rush to get to the finish line. Neither of them want to be on the hook for all of the financials, but if they can work out an arrangement on that end between the two, maybe some progress can be made.
But this situation could play out for a while, even into training camp, realistically, and Cleveland is content to move along with what they already have if they are not able to acquire McCoy. Ogunjobi might not be a household name, but he is a quality player, and adding Vernon and Richardson around him will only make the entire group stronger.
Where the Browns can really use some help is in the depth department, however, as they don’t really have a ton of quality personnel behind their projected starters. Carl Davis is one veteran that they have along the defensive interior, but they don’t have much else, either on the inside or the outside, so getting McCoy would address two areas of the roster.
Of course the real hope for the future is on the other side of the ball with quarterback Baker Mayfield, where the team has tried to surround him with enough talent to carry a game. They have invested in the offensive line and the wide receiver positions in particular, where they have two of the highest-paid players at the latter, though they did trade one of their big acquisitions, Kevin Zeitler, from the latter group to bring in Vernon.