Sources tell Boston Sports Extra that recently released Gerald McCoy is open to the Patriots because of a potential reunion with Michael Bennett, and money isn’t an issue.
Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times mentioned this as a possibility yesterday, but it has been confirmed.
Adam Schefter also mentioned the Patriots when he reported the news of McCoy’s desire to play for a playoff team.
Adding Gerald McCoy to the Patriots would break the NFL. McCoy would be the last piece to a defense that already has more it’s fair share of talent. With a top tier secondary and a scary front seven, McCoy would help make this defense top five in the league.
Adding to an already loaded defense
Running the ball against this front seven with Gerald McCoy included would be next to impossible, and he would provide some outstanding pressure on the inside.
Much like the run game, passing against a secondary spearheaded by Stephon Gilmore is no easy task either. Then add an improved pass rush this offseason, and not only will it be hard for opposing quarterbacks to find open receivers, but it will be hard to find them in a finite amount of time.
Point being, without Gerald McCoy, this defense is pretty good. With Gerald McCoy, this defense is great. Some could argue that the one hole we have remaining on this defense is Defensive Tackle. The need is there for him, and the Patriots were interested in him earlier this offseason.
McCoy, now on the tail end of his career, may still have plenty left in the tank, yet he has never had a chance to win in Tampa Bay. Now a free agent, he would like to sign with a contender for a trophy.
The Patriots specialize in signing players of his description. Ones who are willing to take less money than they could in order to go for a ring.
So what’s the holdup? Well, money is the holdup.
McCoy is expected to demand a price tag close to $6 million per year. The Patriots have near $3.4 million in total cap space, and that does not include the signing of Danny Shelton and the contract extension of Brandon King. Those deals are undisclosed to this point, perhaps in an effort to find the money to sign McCoy.
Creating space is possible
Coming up with that money should not be difficult. Some people have painted it up to be impossible. It really is quite simple.
Let’s go through all the ways that the Patriots could clear some cap space for Gerald McCoy, or just clear out some money in general.
1 . Trade Marcus Cannon
As was mentioned in a previous article, trading Cannon is a distinct possibility after the draft. And it would free up a little over $4 million in cap space alone. Getting a pick in compensation for a player with a diminishing role, with an expensive contract, while he just came off one of his strongest seasons in his career seems to make too much sense.
Proposed trade: Marcus Cannon for a 2020 fourth round pick and a 2020 conditional seventh rounder
2. Rework and craft new deals
Tom Brady, Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty and Kyle Van Noy could all see their contracts restructured. This is assuming that Brady, McCourty, and Van Noy all sign on for at least another year, as they are all in contract years.
Hightower makes the most sense for a restructured contract. To clarify, a restructured contract does not mean the Patriots are taking money out of his contract. It simply means that some of the money gets pushed to another year in the deal to count against that year’s cap space, opposed to this year’s.
3. Potential Cuts and Trades
Three players that could be on the bubble are Maurice Harris, Elandon Roberts, and Jonathan Jones.
In this loaded receiving group, Harris is certainly on the outside looking in. Unless he impresses during camp, he may find his roster spot get turned back into money that Belichick can spend. In other words, get cut.
Roberts and Jones both played well during the playoffs last year, however, turned in largely inconsistent and poor play during the regular season.
Roberts does not seem like a Mayo-type Linebacker. And the addition of Jamie Collins makes Roberts redundant.
Jones finds himself stuck in a competitive Cornerback group. With Gilmore and Jason McCourty both being veterans, Jones’ veteran presence becomes less significant. Joejuan Williams and JC Jackson should also take on a big role in this group. With Jones competing with them, and the special teams unit looking all filled out, his cap hit may not make sense. Releasing him would create $3 million in cap space.
If the Patriots are truly interested in Gerald McCoy they should make it happen. McCoy has interest in joining them, and his presence would be a disruptive force on the Defensive Line. Seems about time to book those tickets to Miami for February 2, 2020.