Buccaneers new HC Lovie Smith mentioned on Wednesday that a contract extension for DT Gerald McCoy is a “priority” for them.
“We want him around for a long time,” Smith said, per Rick Stroud.
McCoy, 25, is entering the final year of his rookie contract is already among the best interior defensive linemen in the game.
As things stand right now, McCoy will make $12.7 million for the 2014 season and count $15.6 million against the team’s salary cap. The Buccaneers still have cap space to work with, but a long-term extension would not only keep him under team control for the foreseeable future, but would also reduce his cap figure in the process.
Pro Football Focus has McCoy rated as the No. 1 defensive tackle in the league by a considerable margin. In 2013, McCoy produced 50 tackles and nine sacks, despite being an interior lineman for the Buccaneers defense.
McCoy should be able to come close to and possibly even surpass Haloti Ngata‘s five-year, $61 million that included $37.1 million guaranteed. It would make sense for him to wait for Ndamukong Suh to sign an extension because he is widely expected to set the market at the position.