The Houston Texans should be setting their sights on defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who was cut from the Tampa Bay Bucs yesterday. Why? Let’s take a look.
The Houston Texans‘ organized team activities have been well underway and the only no-shows have been Jadeveon Clowney — no surprise — as well as J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins. Do those guys really need to be there? Absolutely not as each of these men exudes greatness; and plus, these workouts are voluntary.
For Watt’s and Hopkins’ sake, it’s best to preserve their health in any way possible. And as for Clowney, I know this is part of his personal protest to lobby for a long-term deal with the Houston Texans.
As you know, the Houston Texans franchise-tagged Clowney non-exclusively with a tender that’s worth either $15.4 or $17.1 million, depending on how the team defines his job title. If it’s a linebacker, he’ll be paid $15.4M but if he’s categorized as a defensive end, it’ll be $17.1M. Both parties have yet to sign it but they have until July 15 to either hammer out a long-term deal or agree to the tag.
The fact that this is going on leads me to what this whole diatribe is all about. As of yesterday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut veteran defensive left tackle Gerald McCoy and he’s apparently being replaced by Ndamukong Suh, the controversial yet productive tackle that’ll likely make an impact.
McCoy was set to make $13 million in the 4th year of a six-year, $95.2 million contract extension that he signed back in 2014.
He’s still quite a talent out on the field but the Bucs felt that his performance didn’t outweigh the justification of paying the salary that was agreed upon.
McCoy, 31, will have a lot of offers on the table and although I’m sure he’d want another long-term deal — to which he likely won’t get at this stage of his career — he will have a team like the Houston Texans, willing to throw a little money at him for one season.
This franchise has $41 million in cap space — which rivals most of the NFL at this moment with the 2nd-most — so there’s no question that they could get him signed as fast as you could say “Kirby Drive.”
But with the uncertainty of the team having to use that money to start Clowney out a new deal has this organization anxious and they want to sit on top of their Scrooge McDuck-like vault of cash for a bit longer.
The team has D.J. Reader, Carlos Watkins, Brandon Dunn and Joel Heath signed to the roster but I think McCoy could help the depth of that unit even more. What does this team have to lose if they have McCoy in the short-term? That’s why it’s imperative this team looks under the hood and bring him into the fold.
According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), McCoy netted a solid 78.6 defensive,
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81.1 run, 66.6 pass rush, 64.9 coverage and 49.7 tackling grade back in 2018. He exerted 38 pressures — 20 quarterback hurries, 12 QB hits and six sacks — along with 18 run stops and only five missed tackles through 732 snaps.
His overall defensive grade puts him 20th among active interior defensive linemen with at least 465 snaps.
McCoy still remains in the Top 30 — ranked 27th — of DI’s in terms of run stop percentage (4.0) as well.
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s impressive considering he’s getting toward the twilight of his career. I’m banking on that the Houston Texans can get the same out of him in one — possibly two seasons — if they wish to extend him an offer.
The team’s cap situation for the next few seasons still would look strong even if Clowney is signed to a long-term deal so I don’t see what would be the risk of bringing him in. The Texans know this but the question is, with the line of suitors ready for his services, what will they have to do to get themselves in the front?
We’ll have to keep an eye on this development.
McCoy amassed 28 combined tackles — 17 solos — along with one pass defended through 14 games last season.
For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, subscribe to PFF’s EDGE and ELITE subscriptions at ProFootballFocus.com.