Interest from the Cleveland Browns is being reciprocated by free agent defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who will be in Berea, Ohio, at team headquarters on Friday.
FILE PHOTO: Feb 2, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Gerald McCoy during red carpet arrivals for the NFL Honors show at the Fox Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
McCoy will take his first-ever free agency visit with the Browns, and he informed other suitors of the pecking order on Thursday.
McCoy, the third overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday with three years left on his contract. The deal called for him to make $13 million in base pay this season. The original contract was for six years and $95.2 million.
Cleveland general manager John Dorsey confirmed he’d host McCoy on Friday. Dorsey, speaking Thursday after organized team activities, said he will continue to “turn over every rock.” Of McCoy, Dorsey said he is “a good player the Browns want to get to know a little better.”
Dorsey has been aggressive in stocking the Browns’ roster, including trades that brought in wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry and defensive end Olivier Vernon. According to reports, the Browns have been interested in adding McCoy for months but didn’t offer a draft pick in exchange because they expected him to be released.
“These decisions are very difficult, personally and professionally,” Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said in a statement when the team released McCoy. “Over the past nine years, Gerald has been a cornerstone of this franchise and a leader in our community. Parting ways with a player and person such as Gerald is one of the toughest responsibilities of this job. We wish Gerald, along with his wife, Ebony, and the entire McCoy family continued success and thank them for everything they have meant to our organization and community.”
After the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud originally reported McCoy was released, ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted that the Bucs tried for two months to find a trade partner, but when it was clear there was none, the two sides “mutually parted ways.”
The 31-year-old McCoy has been a pillar on otherwise subpar defenses for most of his career in Tampa, earning six Pro Bowl selections and tallying 54.5 sacks.
Earlier this month, McCoy voiced his displeasure with trade rumors while skipping voluntary workouts.
“I will be playing football somewhere,” McCoy told a local reporter at the time. When asked where that would be, McCoy said, “I don’t know. We’ll see.”
—Field Level Media