TAMPA ― When Bucs coach Bruce Arians deflected a question about Gerald McCoy Tuesday by saying the team has already moved on, he wasn’t kidding.
In less time than it took to take McCoy’s nameplate off his locker, the Bucs were nearing a deal with his replacement, closing in on a one-year agreement with Ndamukong Suh, according to an ESPN report. Terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed.
The move essentially swaps McCoy, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 draft, for Suh, the second overall pick in the same draft. A free agent who made $14 million last season playing for a vaunted Rams defense that went to the Super Bowl, Suh’s deal is expected to be significantly less, allowing the Bucs to come out saving money after freeing themselves of McCoy’s $13 million.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who first reported the news, offered some reasons why Suh chose to sign with the Bucs.
Suh flourished last season with the Rams in Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense, so he should adjust well to Bowles’ 3-4 scheme as returning players make the transition from the 4-3 front.
And there’s no question that no state tax is an added perk of working in Florida, especially when you’ve already made nearly $139 million in your career.
Bowles nearly landed Suh last year when he was head coach of the Jets, but an offer was rescinded, and Suh signed with the Rams and went to the Super Bowl.
When it comes to production, Suh has recorded four straight seasons of 80-plus Pro Football Focus season grades after posting just one 80-plus season in his first five years in the league. Last season, he posted a 82.6 grade, which is the second-highest of his career, though he had to be helped by playing for a Rams defense that was one of the leagues best and playing beside Aaron Donald, who is arguably the NFL’s best defensive lineman. He won’t have those luxuries in Tampa Bay.
NFL Network’s Steve Wyche notes that Bowles has has success with interior linemen in his defensive systems, most recently Leonard Williams with the Jets. Williams saw success lining up on the inside and the outside, and Suh could do that too in the Bucs’ 3-4 front, offering the flexibility that it’s clear Arians and Bowles are looking for.
There should be some concern that while Suh was the Rams’ best defensive player in the postseason, he didn’t show the same consistency during the regular season, but that the Bucs “could be getting a good player at a good price that is a scheme fit.”
NFL Network reporter James Palmer broke down some comparison numbers between Suh and McCoy.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at email@example.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.