The Real McCoy

April 23rd, 2019


The record will show that Gerald McCoy played his final game as a Buccaneer on Dec. 30, 2018 in a 34-32 home loss against Atlanta.

It was his 123rd start in pewter and, as usual, Tampa Bay’s defense was subpar, allowing the Falcons to roll up 27 first downs and 489 yards in the season finale.

By their actions and by their words, the Bucs have decided to move on from McCoy, and that’s their right as an organization. What is not right is for Buc fans to regard McCoy as an underachiever during his nine seasons.

The third pick in the 2010 draft is likely to be shipped out this weekend, used as a draft-day bargaining chip to move up. At the age of 31, McCoy’s best years are behind him and Tampa Bay can’t justify his $13 million salary.

But per usual at One Buc Place, McCoy’s departure is already messy.

A 6-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle deserved a graceful exit because one day McCoy’s No. 93 will hang from the rafters at Raymond James Stadium, where there have been too many jeers and not enough wins.

McCoy’s Curse

This franchise has been going since 1976 and the only defensive players with more Pro Bowl berths as a Buccaneer are Derrick Brooks (11) and Warren Sapp (7). Both of those gentlemen sport gold jackets and while McCoy won’t get a bust in Canton, he’s hardly been a bust as a pro.

McCoy’s curse is he isn’t Sapp and his football team usually isn’t very good. What he’s been is durable, productive and an exemplary representative for this organization off the field.

Suh has probably been the better pro, but he’ll be playing for his fourth team this fall when he signs as a free agent. He’s still out there, despite his 56 sacks, 166 QB hits and 107 tackles for loss.

At least Suh has played in six playoff games, posting 5 sacks, 5 tackles for loss and 10 QB hits, while McCoy has gone nine years without a meaningful January matchup.

Once upon a time in Hawaii …

That doesn’t mean he hasn’t made an impression.

“Gerald McCoy’s a workhorse,” says Drew Brees, “a force to be reckoned with.”

Carolina’s Trai Turner, one of the NFL’s premier guards, says McCoy is “a great competitor and a great player. You’ve got to have a plan.”

Tampa Bay’s plan is to move McCoy out and let Vita Vea flex his muscles inside. And it would shock no one if the Bucs chose a defensive lineman with the fifth pick Thursday night as new coordinator Todd Bowles reshapes a battered unit.

The Legacy

His detractors won’t want to hear this, but in another year, McCoy figures to receive strong consideration as an All-Decade player. Four defensive tackles will be chosen and McCoy should be in the mix along with Suh, Geno Atkins and Fletcher Cox, behind Aaron Donald.

What are the primary knocks on McCoy?

He’s too nice … he lends a hand to pick opposing players off the ground. I’ve never heard anyone say that to belittle Lee Roy Selmon, who proved you don’t need a nasty streak to be elite.

He doesn’t have a signature play in the past nine years. Guess what Buc fans? Neither does your football team.

McCoy has enjoyed a very good NFL career, and he’s not finished unless he wants to be. He won’t make $13 million in 2019, but he can prove to be a worthy addition for a quality team like the Chiefs or Eagles.

Can’t you see McCoy reporting to Kansas City’s training camp in that trademark kimono, eager to reinvent himself for a 12-win team? McCoy deserves a shot at the postseason and Buc fans shouldn’t begrudge him.

He’s not Sapp. He’s not Suh. He’s not Aaron Donald.

But he’s been the real McCoy and now it’s time for a fresh start. Wish him well, Buc fans, and hope Vita Vea can fill his cleats.

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. 

Join Ira Kaufman and Joe at the annual NFL Draft blowout. Everything will get rolling around 5:30 p.m. at Buffalo Wild Wings in South Tampa.

42 Responses to “The Real McCoy”

  1. Destinjohnny Says:

    Good player. A real solid pro on and off the field
    Was he Great??? I say almost
    Sapp was great
    Brooks was great
    Lynch was great

  2. DooshLaRue Says:

    Ira, you made me sick reading that.
    What a bunch of crap.

  3. Just Sayin’ Says:

    Just because you were here for a decade doesn’t make you all-decade. He was the “best” player on THE WORST defense and team in the league sans Cleveland not a superb resume. He sure had a lot of fun losing, while the rest of the faithful were miserable watching his defenses collapse. If he gets in the ring of honor that would be appropriate in the era of participation trophies.

  4. martinii Says:

    Well said Ira. While I am not a expert like so many on this site I am proud to state that I wore 93 for the past 8 years and believe McCoy played his butt off and deserves to eventually join other Buc’s standouts in the “Ring of Honor.” I wish him good luck and success with his next team.

  5. MarkV Says:

    Well said Ira!

  6. Jonathan Limpchimpi Says:

    Quite honestly…not sure what to think of McCoy’s “body of work”. I agree with the premise that he has played his last game in/for Tampa. But unless another team has hired Mark Dominik and I wasn’t aware…no team will trade for that contract. The Bucs have already shelled out over 100 mil for his services. That’s pretty stunning.

    Kudos to Ira for headlining the draft party. Few people could keep it afloat after the real “Jason” was made public. You, my friend, are the real deal ( McCoy ).

  7. Not there yet Says:

    No one knocks him for not being sapp that’s some stupid narrative the media came up with, it’s the ultimate compliment to be compared to sapp. Per IRA’s words “McCoy has enjoyed a very good NFL career”. That’s it nothing else to be said he’s a good player and he doesn’t deserve some special Kobe Bryant like send off, that 2018 salary was pretty special. This franchise can say they didn’t put talent around him sure but what made it obvious they need to move on us last year they did and it changed nothing

    How do we know the media started the Geraldine drama? No one said a word when he got his big contract, no one was talking about cutting him or trading him or calling him garbage he earned that contract but he’s always been average, Tampa has had very few elite players so it’s easy to see the difference between him and our elites. Very good player though and wish you all the best Geraldine

  8. adam from ny Says:

    well said ira…

    but i gotta give mccoy a rating on a scale of 1 to 10 as a buccaneer, a score of 7…the fan base wanted him to be a 9 or a 10 out of 10…like sapp and brooks…but he was always a 7 out of 10…on teams that were basically 6’s (6 out of 10)…so he was better than the bad teams he played on…but never ever did he overachieve as a buccaneer or grab the bull by the horns…not even in one game…he will always be werald tortolini to me, the nice guy who’s signature move very well might have been apologizing to big ben on mnf and picking him up off the turf…

    he’s a good dude, but a little “too chill” for the nfl…

    now let’s watch him grab a ring elsewhere…yikes!

  9. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    “… one day McCoy’s No. 93 will hang from the rafters at Raymond James Stadium… ”

    Most people do not set out to bash McCoy. Most of us are content with him being considered an above average defensive tackle. The great majority of us do not set out to say negative things about Gerald. It only happens when some manipulative columnist says something stupid like this.

    Click… click… click…

  10. Bucsfan561 Says:

    The thing that made ronde , Derrick, and sapp great was also coaching. Gerald has never had that! He’s also just now getting legitimate help around him and now we wanna can em.. I can see If he wants to be paid 13 mill & wont restructure then yeah I’d have to cut em but I feel this isn’t the case

  11. DB55 Says:

    What he’s been is durable, productive and an exemplary representative for this organization off the field.
    I have questions!

    How many full seasons has McCoy played? 2

    How many records does he hold?
    In term of tackles for a DT he comes in right behind Rueben Davis. In terms of sacks he comes in just above Chiti Ahanitu (we used to be neighbors, all around good guy) and Ints as far as I can tell both Gaines Adams and Booger McFarland have him beat.

    Exemp Rep? Sure, who doesn’t love that smile OFF THE FIELD!!!!!!!

    Ring of honor you say?
    James Wilder holds the record for most rushing yards, did it in less seasons than his closest competitor and holds close to a 1000 yard lead that will not be broken anytime soon. James Wilder also has 2 playoff appearances something that McCoy can’t claim. And his record has stood for almost 3 decades.

    Talent? even some of the bums aka “the talent around him” have multiple Super Bowl appearances and rings ie Bennett and Clayborn(1 ring that should have been two if Brady hadn’t come back 28-3 on atl). Not to mention countless role players on the dline who have at least been to the playoffs like Akeem Spence and George Johnson to name a few.

    So forgive me when I doubt that McCoy deserves any parade down Martin Luther King Jr Blvd to celebrate his hmm durability, productiveness or enshrinement into a ring of honor that he is clearly not the most deserving candidate for.

    Although Suh is on his 4th team now every team he’s been a part of have gone to the playoffs. Suh played in a Super Bowl too. Honestly if we want to make the playoffs maybe cut McCoy sign Suh and save 8 mil dollars and upgrade the position while your at it. Of course, Suh doesn’t smile much so it’s a tough choice.

    Bottom line is that the Bucs paid 100 mil for a great smile on and off the field and that’s about it.

    Oh yea pro-bowls! Last question? Who has watched a pro-bowl game in the last six years?

  12. D-Rome Says:

    He won’t make $13 million in 2019, but he can prove to be a worthy addition for a quality team like the Chiefs or Eagles.

    According to Buccaneer Bonzai, a man who is a Bucs Insider, a man who has a feel for the pulse of the team like no other, Gerald McCoy will fetch $15 million!

    McCoy’s treatment by some fans and a few in the media has been unfair. The reality is that the Bucs failed GMC, not the other way around. They wasted the prime years of his career.

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    I still remember when the Bucs negotiated GMC’s re-signing back in Oct 2014. The Head Coach at the time? Lovie Smith (hired 1 Jan 2014). The GM at the time? Jason Licht (hired in 21 Jan 2014). GMC’s new contract ($98 mil for 7 yrs with over half guaranteed) … the biggest contract ever for a DT at the time.

    In retrospect the contract makes sense. Despite having biceps injuries that put him on IR in both 2010 & 2011, GMC bounced back in 2012 & 2013 with 2 very good years (Pro Bowl both years & All-Pro in 2013). Unfortunately the way the contract was structured ($13 mil for a now aging 31-yr old DT with no dead money after 2018 season) pretty much ensured IMO that the contract would either be re-negotiated down OR that GMC & the Bucs would be parting ways in 2019.

    This whole thing has been very sloppily handled by the Bucs. There’s STILL a very slight chance that McCoy could finish his career as a Buc, and I for one hope that he does. No he’s not the player that he was 5 or 6 years ago, and he’s not worth $13 mil a year, BUT … he’s STILL a very good DT. On a team with lots of meh talent, we can still use him. Regardless of what his future holds, I for one wish him all the best.

  14. adam from ny Says:

    i think he goes to a contender, but he may very well wind up in frisco with kwon…both will dye their hair gold and dance with
    “mad bum” on the sidelines

  15. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Gump going to trade him as bargining chip?

    Teams going to wait till he gets cut

    How are teams going to trade for him at the same time renegotiate a new contract which GMC has to approve that fast?

    Does Gump actually this will happen?

    We have not signed good cheap players because this foresight?

    God help us all”

    Kobe Faker

  16. Magadude Says:

    Great read Ira. I don’t think there are as many McCoy dislikers out there as may meet the eye. Out and about, especially those people that actually buy tickets and show up to games, McCoy is very popular. Those who don’t like him seem to be more vocal here than I’ve seen anywhere. He still gets the loudest cheers on gameday at RayJay. He’s been a great team mate, player, and person and good for this community. He’s a good man and I hope he sticks around in the area. My biggest critique is that I wish he was more of a charismatic, stronger leader aside from leading by example. He is more man and leader and person than Warren Sapp will ever be. Yeah, Sapp was a better player I think. But he’s also a scumbag in every other aspect of his life.

  17. Pete I Says:

    Not anti-McCoy but he just was never great at his position, he was good at times, very good at times and non-existent at times in games. Not enough to hang from any rafters. Not for the 3rd player taken…

  18. Bucsfanman Says:

    Best line of this piece,
    “He doesn’t have a signature play in 9 years. Guess what Buc fans? Neither does your football team!”

  19. Clw JB Says:

    Being very good but not great is nothing to be ridiculed over – GMC played exactly to his pre-draft prediction and played awesome the year prior to his big contract

    He was always a one gap penetrating tackle, never a 2 gap strongman

    Instead of surrounding him with complimentary skilled players, we draft Brian Price, Bowers, Gholston, Spence etc – sign garbage like Ghost Johnson and Fat Baker

    Yeah it’s GMC’s fault we sucked out loud for a decade

  20. Wombat Says:

    Not a fan, never was. He was a physical specimen with a quick get off that had all the intangibles to be great. He was never great. I think he was one of the most selfish players on the team, besides providing ice creams. His pre ritual praying routine was a spectacle. It was all about him, you can pray anywhere, doesn’t have to be the center of the field, that is self adoration! Go off the field with your team mates dude!
    All we ever heard was “he needs better players around him”! He needs to make the players better around him by making them accountable. Sapp made players around him work their asses off or he would let them know about it.
    Football was once a violent game played by violent people, society and the NFL have ruined the game and I no longer support the NFL financially by buying season tickets. The last half of the season I stopped watching the games even on TV as I was wasting the beautiful Florida weather setting up to watch the 1pm game slot we were cursed with as a team.
    I still get the organization calling me periodically to entice me back, but sorry, this team has lost my support.
    I haven’t kept up with the draft hype this year, I don’t think this team can turn it around with the draft. I honestly hope I am wrong because I really loved this team and the excitement it used to bring me every Sunday.
    Good luck Gerald, hope you learnt something and football has been good to you, hopefully you can share your wealth and knowledge and make the world a better place….

  21. Bird Says:

    Good luck Gerald

    Go to a contender and get a ring. Everyone else does.
    Has he been elite? No
    But a solid player who the Bucs never gave any help until to late.
    These buc defenses were just terrible to go along with terrible coaching

  22. Bird Says:

    You know who must be sleeping off a meth bender as no comments yet

    I go into moderation if I even mention his name

  23. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Good luck, GMC…..wish you the best… were a good Buc.

  24. Alanbucsfan Says:

    You say McCoy will likely be traded , and later you say he won’t make $13 million in 2019.
    Does that mean he’s willing to renegotiate with another team?
    Or does it mean the Bucs will outright cut him and he’ll be a free agent?

    If he’s willing to renegotiate for another team but not the Bucs, I say he doesn’t deserve any Ring of Honor…

  25. Buc believer Says:

    Wow Ira did Mccoy and his agent and his Pappy help you right that piece??? What a load of stinky smelly poop! The ONLY thing that even remotely was true was that he was a “good” player, definitely NOT elite though. Cmon Ira we expect MUCH better from you!

  26. RustyRhinos Says:

    I bet McCoy would have a different reception and player reaction to wearing that kimono to a Kansas City training camp. Someone there might ask him if he missed ComiCon. He has played and been a team leader on a lot of bad Buccaneer teams, somewhat sad to see him go. But it is time to move on. Good luck Mr. McCoy. Next player up.
    GO BUCS!

  27. RustyRhinos Says:

    Moderation again, it must have been something I said when I was drinking again.

  28. Bobby M. Says:

    He’s deserving of Ring Honor…He was a very productive player at a position that doesn’t necessarily get a stat for his effectiveness. He represented the franchise well both on and off the field….but he’ll always be remembered as a underachiever for so many years on losing teams. He chose to stay so that part is on him.

  29. Jean Lafitte Says:

    …if he’d just restructured we wouldn’t be saying goodbye. It’s been real McCoy, Good luck on your next chapter. Turn the page.

  30. tmaxcon Says:

    Every player that has ever suited up for bucs is a underachieving bum outside of selmon and sapp… brooks is a undersized backup without sapp in front of him and lynch’s best years were in denver…. bucfan has no clue what greatness means…. to busy failing for mediocrity

    This team won 1 playoff game with selmon and a pathetic 5 with sapp… NONE WITH 55 OR 47 LEADING THE WAY

  31. Steven007 Says:

    Bird, that’s hilarious. And true.

  32. Cobraboy Says:

    McCoy was a good player but nothing special.

    He deserves a portrait somewhere in the corridors of Ray Jay, maybe the Ring of Good, next to Booger McFarland and Brad Culpepper.

    I won’t really miss him at $13 million. Maybe I would at $4-5 million.

    He would disappear in games. The greats don’t do that.

  33. Maze Says:

    Later Batboy 👋

  34. Bucsdelight Says:

    Comparing McCoy to Sapp is stupid. Sapp had one of the best supporting casts. McCoy has had BS for a supporting cast. Whether people want to admit it or not, TB is one of the worst, if not the worst team in the NFC.

  35. tmaxcon Says:


    Typical cancer93 supporter…. you have it backwards sapp made those around him better. None of those win anything without sapp driving the train… choirboys and nice guys always finish last….

  36. tmaxcon Says:

    all those years with a top ranked defense and only 5 measly playoff wins with 3 in one year…. pretty sorry actually but you people keep living in fantasy land labeling underachieving has beens legends while real legends are winning post season games and championships buc legends talk about their single glory year…. bucsfans simply can’t understand the league is about post season wins NOT meaningless pro bowls and rankings…. but i guess when you team has only competed 2 out of 42 years you have to hold onto something… stop settling and lowering the bar… it’s sad and pathetic. maybe tampa should propose a pro bowl day parade….

  37. Bejesus belt Says:

    Well said Ira, well said.

  38. Snook Says:

    The obligatory “We love you Gerald” article from another member of the Tampa media to kiss his azz on his way out the door.

    Fact is, Gerald was never a difference maker. That’s why he never made a difference on any of the defenses for which he played. Disappeared a lot during games and never came up big in big situations.

    Perfect example – Last season vs Steelers. Could’ve put Big Ben on the turf late in the game to stop a drive to get the ball back to the offense. Instead, a weak arm tackle attempt and a pass for a first down. Good player but far far far from great.

    Sorry that rubs so many of you the wrong way but its the harsh truth. And he’s soft. Could never take any kind of criticism from the media. Good riddance.

  39. Bucsfanman Says:

    We want our pound of flesh and GMC is an easy target.
    For perspective, some of you should take a trip down memory lane. History will tell you that the Bucs can’t even afford to let over-the-hill average DTs walk out of the door.
    “Take over games?”
    “Make others better?”
    Name ONE Buc defender over the same span not named Ronde that fits those descriptions.
    The point is that we direct our anger in the wrong direction. We should be asking why an organization cares so little about accountability. One player is not the reason for our LONG-TIME woes.

  40. Mike Johnson Says:

    Ira, I got GMC going to a contender and playing lights out. He might not get 13 mil. But he’s gonna get paid very well. Funny how many fickle Buc fans have turned on him because of the money thing. People’s memory fade. GMC was our Defense for a long time while the Bucs front office and coaching staff nursed..the offense and failed to give GMC the help he needed on Defense. If I were him, I would be ready to leave. And I’m sure he is. The guy has lots of quality ball left in him. I personally wish him nothing but the best. Who will the scapegoat year? I can tell you this for certain, If Arians does not win quickly, these Buc fans are gonna turn on him quicker than an..Arizona Diamonback!!..complete with Fangs.

  41. ElioT Says:

    Just wish the dude could have made one… just ONE…

    IMPACT PLAY when it REALLY mattered.

    What Gerald is NOT:
    • Winner
    • Leader
    • Durable
    • Bad Person

    From all evidence, McCoy is a great person and probably why anyone would want him as a friend.

    He commanded respect and the “leader” title based on his personal traits but not as a football player.

    He has been the leader of this horrible team for years and I think he was unfairly thrust into that role.

    If McCoy had Kwon’s “intangibles” he would remain a Buccaneer.

    Bottom Line is:
    The dude never elevated the play of those around him. He let a POS like Fatty Baker come in and act the fool and left it up to Kwon (on the next to last game of the season) finally light that f**ker up…

    No one ever asked him to be Sapp.

    There will never be another Sapp, not in this age of social media.

    What we wanted and expected was a real LEADER of the defense.

    No impact plays… EVER!

    Never once did you see McCoy get in anyone’s face on the field or on the sidelines, making it known that HIS defense would not allow the historic futility to continue.

    I don’t like McCoy the football player, and I don’t hate him either.

    I’m in the middle, like most rational people.

    With that said, #lichtmyb*lls and BA have butchered this whole thing big time.

    They’ve diminished the trade value by being honest which is how you lose any negotiating powers in the NFL.

    I hope I’m wrong and the Bucs can get something for McCoy without including other draft picks to trade up.

  42. Joe Says:

    Just wish the dude could have made one… just ONE…

    IMPACT PLAY when it REALLY mattered.

    Tipping a pass at Kansas City that would have likely been a game-winning touchdown for the Chiefs and instead was a game-clinching interception by — GASP! — Chris Conte isn’t an impact play when it mattered?


    Or how about the same season him nearly sacking Matty Ice which caused a rotten throw to seal a win?

    Nah, that didn’t matter either. Oh, well.