Now that Gerald McCoy is officially a free agent, he has a lengthy list of potential suitors. Perhaps no team has been more tightly linked to McCoy than the Cleveland Browns.
The Cleveland Browns already loaded up on defensive line talent this offseason, acquiring Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon to bolster a unit that already boasted Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi. Adding Gerald McCoy would put the Browns line squarely in the conversation as the best front four in the NFL, and they’ve shown interest in him ever since the Tampa Bay Buccaeners tried to shop the nine-year veteran on the trade block.
According to the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Browns will be the first team that McCoy visits in free agency. It appears the visit will take place on Friday.
McCoy also has reported interest from the Carolina Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals, per Garafolo. Earlier, ESPN’s Jenna Laine reported that the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts, and New England Patriots are also interested.
It’s notable that every NFC South team is looking into signing the former Buccaneers star, in addition to Cleveland’s in-state rival. Of course, the Patriots are a team to watch here. The Patriots, Colts, and Browns are all real contenders in the AFC, and McCoy would be an important interior pass rusher for both the Pats and Colts.
As for the Browns, while they are already loaded up front with Ogunjobi and Richardson locking up the starting spots right now, they could still have room for McCoy. There’s nothing wrong with having a rotation, and McCoy, who is 31, could benefit from having his snaps managed a little bit.
McCoy may be getting older and wasn’t in the Bucs plans at a cap hit of near $13 million, but he’s still one of the league’s best defensive tackles. Since he’s visiting the Browns first, it’s stands to reason that Cleveland are the favorites here. They probably only didn’t acquire him in a trade because they knew he’d be available, and it will be interesting to see if they offer him a deal that he can’t refuse with so many other contenders interested.