One of the NFL’s best defensive tackles has a blockbuster new contract.
FOX Sports has learned that Tampa Bay has agreed with Gerald McCoy on a seven-year extension worth just under $100 million. The Associated Press reported the deal worth $98 million with $51.5 million guaranteed, making McCoy the highest-paid player at his position.
The Buccaneers made rewarding McCoy, a 2013 All-Pro, a top priority because of his on-field play and leadership, which has established him as the cornerstone of the club’s trademark "Tampa-Two" defense. McCoy has shown his toughness this season by continuing to play despite suffering a broken hand in Week Two against St. Louis. He has 17 tackles and two sacks in five games, having missed only a Week Three matchup with Atlanta.
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“From the moment Lovie and I arrived here, we knew it was vital for us to keep Gerald in Tampa Bay long term as one of the cornerstones of our franchise,” Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said in a team-released statement. “With the backing of the Glazer family, we were able to accomplish that.
"On the field, Gerald is one of the best players in the National Football League, who has been extremely productive and will be for years to come. We are happy to reward someone that has a rare work ethic, which not only makes him an elite player, but serves as an example for our entire team. His commitment, character and leadership are attributes that make him a truly special person, who will play a pivotal role in our future success.”
The No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 draft, the 26-year-old McCoy was set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Getting him under contract now saves the Buccaneers from having to use a franchise tag on McCoy that would have consumed about $18 million of Tampa Bay’s 2015 salary cap.
"Gerald is extremely excited to remain with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and he is especially thankful to Bucs owners, coaches, and Jason Licht for working so hard throughout the process," Ben Dogra, McCoy’s agent, said.
The Buccaneers (1-5) have struggled this year, allowing 204 points, the most in the league. But McCoy is among the league’s best defensive tackles, often drawing double teams. He has played part of this season with a cast on his broken left hand.
Tampa Bay plays the Minnesota Vikings (2-5) on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.