It would have been real nice for the Ravens to land the veteran pass-rushing run-swallowing defensive tackle, and it looked for a few days like they had a real shot to get him. But in the end, it was a family decision, and the McCoy family chose the North Carolina lifestyle over the mean streets of Baltimore.
This from Kevin Eck at BaltimoreRavens.com:
Ravens Reportedly Offered McCoy Twice as Much Guaranteed Money as Panthers
“Ultimately, it wasn’t about the money for Gerald McCoy.
“According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Ravens reportedly offered the coveted free agent defensive tackle twice as much money as the Carolina Panthers, the team McCoy agreed to sign with yesterday. McCoy’s deal reportedly is for one year, $8 million, with just $4 million guaranteed.”
Before visiting the Panthers last Friday, McCoy had what were described as great visits with the Ravens and Cleveland Browns, and both teams expressed optimism in signing the six-time Pro Bowl selection. Apparently, the Ravens were especially close to landing him.
“Gerald McCoy left Baltimore thinking he very well might sign there,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted. “But Carolina wowed him on his visit; Cam Newton helped recruit McCoy big time, per source.”
So why did McCoy choose the Panthers?
The fact that McCoy, by remaining in the NFC South, gets to play against his former team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, twice this season just might have had something to do with it.
The Buccaneers released McCoy after nine seasons two weeks ago with three years remaining on his contract. McCoy would’ve made $13 million with Tampa Bay this season.
After cutting McCoy, the Buccaneers signed free agent Ndamukong Suh to a one-year, $9.25 million deal to replace him and gave Suh McCoy’s old number (93, which Suh wore with the Los Angeles Rams and Miami Dolphins).
“It just wasn’t a fit,” Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians said during an appearance on ESPN after McCoy’s release. “Whether it was financial, whatever, on the field, you know, it just didn’t fit.”
Geography also may have been a factor in McCoy choosing Carolina over Baltimore and Cleveland.
“One thing that became clear in this process: Gerald McCoy wanted to stay in the South, where it’s familiar, rather than Baltimore or Cleveland,” Rapoport tweeted. “Loved both teams, wasn’t sure about both cities.”
The silver lining for Ravens fans is that McCoy, whom Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti described as a “game-wrecker” last week, didn’t go to AFC North rival Cleveland. The Ravens do not play the Panthers this season.
And as much as the Ravens obviously wanted McCoy, the defensive line appears to be solid without him.
The Ravens don’t lack for capable DTs. Brandon Williams is an established run stopper, and Michael Pierce shined in his snaps last season. But Gerald McCoy would’ve eased the burden on the pass rush.
Ravens now return to Chris Wormley as their primary three-technique DL.
“Despite Baltimore’s spirited effort to lure McCoy, the team does carry sturdy depth on the defensive line,” Penn Live’s Aaron Kasinitz wrote. “Defensive tackles Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce remain two of the team’s more established players, while Chris Wormley, Willie Henry and group of unproven D-lineman are in position to compete for snaps.
“McCoy’s decision to veer away from the Ravens opens more opportunities for rookies like Daylon Mack and Jaylon Ferguson to earn playing time. Zach Sieler, a 2018 seventh-round pick, also has a chance to win a spot in a rotation up front.”
Kasinitz also noted that the Ravens will “move forward with about $13 million in salary cap space and an outlook of financial flexibility for the next few years.”