The Arizona Cardinals would benefit from signing recently cut defensive lineman Gerald McCoy.
The Arizona Cardinals have a problem. Although the Redbirds added several solid pieces to the defensive line, including Darius Philon and Zach Allen, the team still lacks star power in the trenches. But, that could change with the release of former Buccaneers defensive lineman Gerald McCoy.
For nine seasons, McCoy was a fixture on the Tampa Bay defense. He was drafted at No. 3 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft and immediately proved his worth. Working from the interior, as a defensive tackle, McCoy tallied 54.5 sacks, 296 total tackles, 79 tackles for loss, and 140 quarterback hits.
His success in Florida immediately boosted his resume. Not only did he have six-straight Pro-Bowl appearances from 2012-17, but he was also named a first-team All-Pro three times, and a second-team All-Pro once. But, the Buccs ultimately parted ways due to his pricey salary cap hit, age (31), and recent drafting of promising defensive line talent.
Though McCoy hasn’t made a Pro-Bowl since 2017, he’s still amongst the best interior defensive linemen in the NFL. Pro Football Focus graded his 2019 season at 78.6, which ranks him as their 28th best defensive lineman in the league.
McCoy should be a hot commodity now that he’s on the open market. Many speculate that he will join an obvious playoff contender; which doesn’t bode well for the Cardinals. Nevertheless, they should be active in their pursuit for him.
Pairing McCoy with the Cardinals new talent on the line could prove to be fruitful for Vance Joseph’s 3-4 defense. He’d likely kick out from his native defensive tackle spot to 3-4 end — a transition that he should be comfortable with. Though he isn’t the force that he once was, teams would have trouble defending a pass-rushing trio consisting of McCoy, Chandler Jones, and Terrell Suggs.
However, ultimately, the Cardinals will have to contend with teams that will either offer him a large contract, a chance to contend for the Super Bowl, or a role as a tackle in a 4-3 defense. The Cardinals don’t currently have the cap space ($6.5 million available) to open up their checkbooks for the Oklahoma product.
If Keim and Co. decide that McCoy is the missing piece to their defense, potential cuts could be on the horizon. But, they better act fast as he appears to be the best player currently in a limited pool of free agents.