All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy insisted Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers don’t have to worry about him holding out this summer while his long-term contract discussions are ongoing.
“When they say report to camp, Gerald McCoy will be there regardless of what happens,” McCoy told a group of reporters during a break in the team’s offseason condition program, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
McCoy, 26, is entering the final year of his rookie contract, which will pay him a healthy sum of $13 million in salary and bonuses.
That could become the norm for the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 draft. His market value could be somewhere in that $13 million-per-year range on a long-term extension.
New Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith said last month that locking up McCoy long-term is one of the team’s top priorities.
After battling injuries early in his career, McCoy has emerged as one of the league’s best defensive tackles with two straight Pro Bowl nods. The 6-foot-4, 300-pounder had a career-high 9.5 sacks last season.
McCoy also said Tuesday that he is excited about resurrecting the classic “Tampa 2” defense under Smith, with McCoy playing the same under-tackle role that Hall of Famer Warren Sapp once played.
“I talked to Sapp the other day, and I told him, ‘I can see now why you loved this defense so much,”’ McCoy said, according to the Tampa Tribune. “I said, ‘This is going to be fun,’ and he said, ‘Well, it’s not going to be easy, because you have a lot of work ahead of you. You have a lot of responsibility as the under tackle.’
“What he meant was, this defense is going to run how I run, so I have a lot of responsibility. I’m going to see most of the one on ones. And when you depend on four guys to get to the quarterback the way we will and the under tackle is supposed to be the key guy, well, I have to get there. But I’m still excited about it.”Covered Saints for eight years at New Orleans Times-Picayune
Previously covered LSU football, San Francisco 49ers
Iowa native and University of Iowa graduate