Arians Slips; McCoy Slides

March 27th, 2019


Bruce Arians worked on his golf game over the weekend in nearby Chandler, but by the time he got to Phoenix, he missed a 2-foot putt.

On Saturday, Arians played host to his foundation’s annual golf tournament, a fund-raiser for helping children in the court system as a result of abuse or neglect by their families.

Three days later, his candor got the best of him during a breakfast with the Tampa Bay media at the NFL owners meeting. Arians shouldn’t have been surprised when asked about the status of Gerald McCoy, a six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle and the second longest-tenured Buccaneer behind Demar Dotson.

Bruce Arians

At the combine in Indianapolis last month, neither Arians nor Jason Licht offered up any assurances that McCoy would be on the roster in 2019. But when Arians waffled once again about McCoy during Tuesday’s breakfast, he added a few choice remarks that undoubtedly did not digest very well in the McCoy household.

“He’s not as disruptive as he was four years ago,” Arians said. “He’s still a good player.”

Those comments won’t enhance Tampa Bay’s chances of getting much in return for McCoy in a trade. All Arians needed to say was “We’re in a bit of a salary-cap crunch right now and we’ll do our best to ensure that Gerald remains a Buccaneer.”

Instead, Arians spoke out of turn. He dinged McCoy, who just turned 31, and hurt Tampa Bay’s leverage in the process.

Fuzzy Value

If Bill Belichick can use the line “we’ll see,” 21 times while fielding questions during his media breakfast, surely Arians could have tossed out the same phrase regarding McCoy’s future.

Now the football is on McCoy’s side of the line of scrimmage. The Bucs don’t feel he’s a $13 million player at this point of his career — and they’re not wrong.

Despite the imposing presence of Jason Pierre-Paul off his right shoulder last fall, McCoy failed to make the impact the organization envisioned. His 28 tackles were matched by Vita Vea, who started only eight games. His six sacks were less than Carl Nassib. He hasn’t forced a fumble in the past two seasons.

Still, there’s a place for McCoy on this football team … at the right price.

He’s still a positive representative for the franchise, without a whiff of scandal. Let’s not forget what Licht said about McCoy in the middle of the 2014 season when announcing a 7-year contract extension.

“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,” Licht said. “His commitment, character and leadership are attributes that make him a truly special person, who will play a pivotal role in our future success.”

Well, that future is now, and McCoy must decide whether he wants to remain in pewter going forward. He’s already done enough to merit a spot in the Buccaneer Ring of Honor. He will be in the conversation when it comes time to select four defensive tackles for the league’s All-Decade team.

But the Bucs want to pay McCoy for what he can do going forward, not for his nine years toiling in the trenches. That’s fair.

He’s already a rich man in line to make a ton more money.

Will he agree to make a half-ton, instead?

If McCoy stands his ground at $13 million, he’s probably toast as a Buc. Maybe he wouldn’t mind forcing a trade at this point to a franchise that isn’t saddled with an 11-year playoff drought.

The brutal honesty of Arians got the best of him in Phoenix. He hurt McCoy’s feelings and in the process, he hurt Tampa Bay’s bargaining power. With players expected to trickle in for offseason conditioning next week, McCoy has a big decision to make.

In the words of Mr. Belichick, we’ll see.

Ira Kaufman began covering the NFL as a New York Giants beat writer in 1979. He arrived on the Buccaneers beat in 1985, and the corporate leash finally was removed from his neck when he joined in July 2016. The award-winning Ira Kaufman Podcast fires twice per week, and Ira’s columns appear thrice weekly, except when Ira is on special assignment. Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter also is a popular guest on various national radio and on local TV. He’s also co-host of TAMPA TWO at The Identity Tampa Bay, which returns to its regular format in March.

41 Responses to “Arians Slips; McCoy Slides”

  1. Patrickbucs Says:

    Spot on!

  2. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Hmmmm. Wonder if Licht has already had feelers out to gauge interest and was disappointed in the results.

    If there is no clamoring for GMC then BA didn’t really hurt his value in a trade. In addition BA sent out a message to GMC and his agent…we like you but nowhere near 13 million.

    Seems like the ball is now in GMC’s court. Take a big pay cut or take a hike. I’m one who actually likes GMC but hard to feel sorry for a multimillionaire for only pulling down 5 or six million this year.

  3. pelbuc Says:

    It’s not like BA said something the rest of the league doesn’t know. Nobody will trade for him bc he sucks and he’s overpaid, period. Speaking of Belicheck, we all know he would have dumped GMC years ago if he were the coach of the Bucs.

  4. BringBucsBack Says:

    …hurt his feelings? What? Does McCoy want an apology like he gave Ben Rapelesburger?

    Hopefully, BA’s inability to monitor his statements and it’s effects is not a precursor to Alzheimer’s.

  5. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    Nice article & if mccoy really wants to win he should ask for a release and sign with a legit contender

  6. donuts Says:

    If Belichick was the Bucs coach, Winston, Kwon and GMC would not be here. Bill demands hard but discipline type of play. Ya think he would have put up with that uber nonsense on a 3 win QB? Hell no.

  7. Issaic haggins Says:

    That’s Lichts Wmployee and as I have stated over and over and over Licht constantly is losing median value in most all situations and this will prob be another situation/ example . The Winning teams constantly win this battle !!!

    Problem : Licht has less control over Arians compared to any other coach before him and he none then !! AND Just In ,,,that was a big big problem !!! Uncle Bruce Save Me !!!! Well Uncle Bruce Ain’t the flocking GM JASON !!!! JASON Be an Executive not A Jock Junkie you just lost value again !!! It is a circus around this GUY and it adds up to a roster / cap of Well , What The Bucs Have !!!

  8. J Says:

    Agreed pelbuc, this isn’t anything other teams do/don’t know. I bet there are also coaches out there that believe he’s being undersold too and would pay handsomely for his services.

    Joes, did you talk to any coaches about GMC and his worth? That to me, would have been an excellent question.

  9. Joel Says:

    “Those comments won’t enhance Tampa Bay’s chances of getting much in return for McCoy in a trade.”

    Dumb comment. So if he said McCoy was the best DT in the league would that have helped his trade value?

    The rest of the league already knows what Arians said.

  10. Smashsquatch Says:

    It was calculated, and not a mistake. Bucs got a rude awakening at the meetings this week. News flash, they can’t trade him at his current salary. They have to lower his salary, and then maybe they can scrounge up a late pick for him. Makes sense to pivot towards allowing the market to set his price; hence the truth about $13 mil not matching GMC’s level of play. Bucs will end up cutting GMC, it’s just a matter of time.

  11. Bad Influence Says:

    Seriously, what did BA say about McCoy that other teams didn’t know already?

  12. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Yeah I’m not sure if it really hurts his trade value that much, considering other teams all have the same tape, unless their own GM/coaches/scouting staff thought he was in his prime. Even then – that’d mean their staffs suck or that they value Bruce Arian’s statements in a local interview more than their own organization’s homework lol.

  13. Joel Says:

    “He hurt McCoy’s feelings and in the process, he hurt Tampa Bay’s bargaining power.”

    Hurt his feelings? If that’s true, then $1M for McCoy is too much. What a waste.

    Tampa has no bargaining power for trading McCoy. No team wants his overpriced salary.

  14. Issaic haggins Says:

    @ Lord

    In my opinion after viewing lots of tape ,Gerald is still the best get off penetrator in the game and we think with a lil improved hand work he may reset his highest sack mark . He may be an even better against the run also !!! He is Arron Donald minus the slightest hand technique differences. I will assure you this there isn’t a rookie in this class that will disrupt a game more than Gerald and I’ve been around a long long time . Gerald is a superb talent !!!

    Being a coach and GM isn’t all x s and o s it’s much more folks and it isn’t hard !!! Just think outside your Jock box and be a GM and a coach of more than x s and o s

  15. Papa578 Says:

    I could give two craps if McCoys feelings are hurt. His job is to find a way to lead his team to victory. These players are handed money that most of us can’t
    It’s called tough love Gerald. Coach is laying the ground work. Team first or move on..

  16. Issaic haggins Says:

    It’s comical

  17. Darin Says:

    Exactly. Licht definitely talked to teams already about trading him. I disagree with Ira this time. He didnt hurt any leverage. Teams know about McCoys play as much as Bruce does. Of course salary factors in big time. So they never had leverage. Only time a team has leverage is when a player is out playing his contract. Everyone knows McCoy isnt. I’m a fan of his but at 13 mil I’m ready for more. If they can trade him for any draft pick or starter thats paid average or less than you do it. Licht drafted Vea last year for this. Not a surprise.

  18. Maze Says:

    Who cares. Film dont lie.

  19. Curse of Gruden Says:

    Ira’s off the mark this time. BA didn’t say anything that the entire league didn’t know. Now, will the comments hurt GMC’s feelings? Maybe they will inspire him to play better.

  20. DB55 Says:

    Said it once and I’ll say it again, you guys are sloooooooow. And way too invested emotionally.

    Bellicheat wont pay Tom Brady 16 mil a year much less a Ice cream man that melts in the Fourth Quarter.

    Brady only makes 15 mil and has more Super Bowl rings than fingers

    HELLO? Is anybody there?!?!?!

  21. 813bucboi Says:

    BA trying to motivate GMC to up his game(and take a pay cut) because what he’s been doing the last 4years wont cut it under this regime…..


  22. GhostofSchiano Says:

    I was a GMC fan / supporter for years….until the Monday night Pittsburgh game where he embarrassed himself and this franchise for falling all over himself apologizing to Ben Rothlisberger because he knocked him down on a play. This was during a mic’d up segment where you can hear GMC apologize over and over. This is not something Warren Sapp would have done. Sapp would have knocked him down and given him a detailed list as to why he should stay down or go sit on the bench the rest of the game. This team has little to no nasty to it. Hopefully Arians / Bowles changes that asap.

  23. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Even though some DL may struggle getting penetration they try to deflect passes with their arms. McCoy had one pass deflection last season.. that’s it
    Not acceptable in my book. This is lack of effort. You may not be able to get to the QB but at least put your arms up while in the passing lane.

  24. Bucnjim Says:

    Not sure why it takes some fans so long to accept the facts. Coaches have said it, players have said it, even GM’s have said it….McCoy once a pretty good player is barely average. Like one poster said tape doesn’t lie and every team has the same look as we do. There are no longer surprises as to what a player can do.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    If anyone thinks Arians spoke words the rest of the NFL didn’t already know doesn’t understand why teams have a pro player scouting department.

    Arians did not affect McCoy. McCoy affects McCoy.

    C’Mon, Ira, you’re better than this. Or was this article to just help McCoy’s hurt feelings?

  26. TDTB Says:

    I’m confident the other nfl teams have a media guy too. Seriously doubt BA said anything a potential suitor wouldn’t see for themselves on tape.

  27. Go Bucs 72 Says:

    “He hurt McCoy’s feelings….” that line more than anything else goes to prove what I always say, McCottoncandy is soft and not even remotely worth 13 million.

  28. Jameis Almighty! Says:

    Bellicheat would love to have Jameis… Jameis Bashers find a way no matter what to assasinate Famous Jameis’ character. Spend 5 minutes with the guy, and you will love him. In Jameis I Trust!

  29. ClwJB Says:

    Bye Gerald!! I will definitely miss the A/C your family shares with us from your luxury box over section 219

    Take a major pay cut GMC, like to $5 mil for a couple years and retire a Buc

    Forget the feelings people, this is business…

  30. D the bucs fan Says:

    I will never get over him and kwon dancing on the sidelines in atl when they were down

  31. Buc believer Says:

    Awww Bruce hurt Gerald’s little feelings! Big ol nasty Bruce! Don’t you know who your talking to?

  32. Buc believer Says:

    No one Batman goes to the Pats…. they only take unselfish players.

  33. Jamaal Stanley Says:

    Told y’all he “walk-it like he talk-it”. Ain’t no more holding anyone’s hand around here anymore. Watching 93 cry on the sideline last season was the lowest point for me as a fan. That ish made me put my head down. And I don’t put my head down for no man.

  34. westernbuc Says:

    Between BA and his loudmouth kid, this family seems more concerned about the brand than anything…

    Say what you will about Koetter, he always talked his players up and didn’t say anything he didn’t have to say.

  35. BucEmUp 7 Says:

    Maybe hes just sending a message to mccoy that he needs to take a pay cut. Everyone in the leage has acces to film and can see the same thing.BA is seeing. He didnt slip up hes just going public with what everyone already knows

  36. Issaic haggins Says:

    Ok , so how in the hell did McKay get a 2nd for Harold Bishop ? It wasn’t tape ??? It’s was knowledge and effort !!!

    If all the info is on the internet how do some sales people make 6 figures over and over and others make 30k or get fired …….. Talk about a group of people that accept underachieving and don’t understand differentiation . Really come on peeps your smarter than this !! Licht is a great assistant not a leading executive !!!

    Winston is this teams only hope and yes Arians can make huge difference with a better run game for him .

  37. Jonathan Lipnicki Says:

    Love ya, Ira…but I find Bucco Bruce’s candor refreshing. There never was a trade market at 13 mil ( plus a few more high $ years following I believe ). McCoy is on notice after having an organization kiss his arse for nearly a decade…with over 100 million dollars of Glazer loot to boot.

  38. __TGH__ Says:

    Did you speak to Gerald? How do you know his feelings are hurt? Does Gerald actually believe he is better than he was 4 years ago?

    The truth is there is no chance to trade McCoy with the numbers he has put up the past couple of years (which you just detailed) and a $13M salary… NO CHANCE.

    What BBA said is truth and he will either need to take a pay cut or he will be released.

  39. Warthog Says:

    BA can’t hurt McCoy’s trade value. He can’t pump it up. He can’t do anything because McCoy’s trade value is determined by his film.

  40. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Renegotiate McCoy’s contract, in which case Bucs draft White
    Trade McCoy (not likely)
    Cut McCoy – why would McCoy sign somewhere else for less money when he can stay in Tampa for same reduced salary?

  41. Brandon Says:

    There is nothing he can do to hurt McCoy’s trade value or enhance it. His salary makes him untradeable. What he did was put McCoy on notice that he thinks he’s a good player and not the elite player that he is being paid as…. take a pay cut or get cut. He was speaking to McCoy, not the 31 other teams.