Are you ready to see Gerald McCoy twice a year in the purple and black? Because that is what it sounds like is going to happen by the way that things are unfolding. The former All-Pro defensive tackle has received a good deal of interest since he was recently released in a salary cap-saving move by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers—replacing him with Ndamukong Suh—and the AFC North has paid him the most attention.
The Cincinnati Bengals showed interest in him. He already went on a visit with the Cleveland Browns and there remained mutual interest after he left. However, he spent yesterday with the Baltimore Ravens, and the report is that he will be going back today for a second day, during which they hope to hammer out the fine details on a contract.
Baltimore took some big hits on defense in free agency, none more notable than the loss of Pro Bowl inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, but also with Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith departing. They also released Eric Weddle, but replaced him with Earl Thomas.
Since the draft, however, the Ravens have done a good job of combing the secondary market to fill in those gaps. They signed a pair of linebackers in Shane Ray and Pernell McPhee, the latter obviously having already had experience with the team in the past. There is still a gap on the inside.
But perhaps they believe they can help address that in the trenches. After all, Baltimore already has Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce along the defensive line. While they did not re-sign Brent Urban, they still have Willie Henry and Chris Wormley, as well as rookie Daylon Mack.
A front line consisting of Williams, McCoy, and Pierce would certainly look good on paper, though if there is one area the Pittsburgh Steelers can match up with anybody, it’s in the trenches. They have among the best offensive lines in the league, especially in pass protection.
The Ravens do have about $14 million or so in salary cap space. McCoy was due to make $13 million this season, but it’s fair to say that he is not going to get that. Suh just signed a one-year deal worth roughly $10 million.
Given the rumors of potential interest in a trade for McCoy between the Browns and the Buccaneers, it is a bit surprising, I suppose, that Cleveland didn’t push harder when they had him in the building, but perhaps it was the player deciding that he wants to explore his options. He said that he wants to play with a championship contender, and perhaps he has his doubts about the Browns still.
Either way, for the moment, it appears highly likely that McCoy is going to wind up in the AFC North, which means that he is going to be going up against and coming after Ben Roethlisberger. He got Big Ben for half a sack when they played the Buccaneers last season, and got another hit or two on him as well in that game.