After a two-day visit in Baltimore last week which, by all indications, went extremely well, it appeared free agent defensive tackle Gerald McCoy may join the Ravens. Prior to meeting with the Ravens, McCoy met with the Browns and visited the Panthers over the weekend.
Evidently, Ron Rivera and Cam Newton did enough to court his services, as it was announced Monday evening that McCoy would in fact be signing with Carolina. The deal is for one year and worth upwards of $10 million.
Carolina cleared out $9 million in cap space over the past week, by officially releasing OT Matt Kalil and restructuring contract of WR Torrey Smith. It paved the way for DT Gerald McCoy, whose one-year deal is worth up to $10.25 million with the Panthers.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 3, 2019
NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport reported that the Ravens actually offered McCoy twice the amount of guaranteed as the Panthers, so they clearly made a push for him, but to no avail.
While the Ravens had the cap space to sign him, McCoy’s decision to join the Panthers instead of coming to Baltimore could actually be a positive thing in the long run. Would it have been nice to add a six-time pro bowler to the defense? And would McCoy have helped the team’s interior pass-rush? Sure.
However, Baltimore wasn’t desperate for McCoy, nor should they have been. Defensive line is one of the deeper areas on the roster and the Ravens two-gap scheme is in great hands with both Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce back in the fold. Neither brings the same pass-rushing acumen as McCoy, but they’re fairly stout in their own right.
McCoy’s decision also opens the door for younger players on the depth chart to emerge, of which there are many. Willie Henry, whose returning from injury, is now slated for a bigger role and has had stretches of impressive play in his young career. Same goes for Chris Wormley, too.
Last year’s seventh-round draft pick Zach Sieler is also in the fold, along with this year’s sixth-round selection Daylon Mack. Many believe undrafted free agent Gerald Willis III has a good chance to make the 53-man roster, too, as he was seen by several experts as a second-to-fourth round talent.
Between these guys, the Ravens have solid depth along the front-seven and have a bevy of options to rotate in-and-out of games. The competition for snaps behind and alongside Pierce and Williams figures to be healthy and intense. Another silver lining from McCoy spurning the Ravens is they can now utilize their unused cap space to address more pressing roster needs, should Eric DeCosta feel so inclined.
On the bright side, at least McCoy didn’t sign with the Browns.