Longtime Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who was cut by the only team he’s ever played for earlier in May, has been taking free-agent visits this week. According to a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, McCoy wrapped up his visit with the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday, and will now decide whether to sign with the Ravens or Cleveland Browns — unless neither team offers him an agreeable contract.
It appears that McCoy was not satisfied with the offers from Cleveland and/or Baltimore, because according to Joe Person of The Athletic, he’s taking a visit to the Carolina Panthers’ facility later this week.
The Panthers have Kawann Short and Dontari Poe up the middle on defense, as well as 2016 first-rounder Vernon Butler. The team added Bruce Irvin via free agency and Brian Burns in the draft as they look to replace Julius Peppers on the edge. Perhaps McCoy can find in Carolina what he apparently did not on his earlier visits.
McCoy had visited Cleveland earlier in the week but left the Browns’ facility without a deal and headed over to Baltimore. The Ravens can likely offer a clearer path to playing time than can the Browns, who have already added to their stacked defensive line this offseason by acquiring Olivier Vernon via trade and Sheldon Richardson earlier in free agency. Add those two to Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi, and they appear to have one of the best defensive fronts in football. That’s not to say he wouldn’t get playing time there, just that it might be somewhat more limited by the rotation.
Baltimore has Michael Pierce and Brandon Williams as incumbent starters up front, while Pernell McPhee is back, and Chris Wormley and others will also factor into the rotation on the defensive line. But McCoy seems far more likely to be a full-time starter there than he would in Cleveland, though transitioning to more of a hybrid 3-4 system might be a bit of a change for him.
No matter where McCoy ends up, he will likely have a sizable impact. He is still playing at a high level, having recorded 12 sacks, 19 tackles for loss and 45 quarterback hits across 29 games during the past two seasons.