It seemed as though since the very first moment he got here, that Bruce Arians went out of his way to put the writing on the wall that Gerald McCoy’s days with the Bucs were nearing an end. On the surface, there were certainly reasons (McCoy’s unguaranteed 13 Million dollar salary being the big one), but it still seemed a bit odd for a new head coach to be so blunt about his mixed feelings regarding the face of a franchise who’s been nothing short of a model citizen. And with Suh being signed so quickly after McCoy’s release, it is clear that Suh was the guy the new coaching staff wanted all along. But why?
Money certainly comes into play. At a 9.25 million dollar cap hit, the Bucs will be saving a much needed 3.75 million dollars in cap space. While it might not seem all that much, for a franchise that was without the cap room needed to sign their 5th overall draft choice Devin White, it certainly helps.
But there had to be other factors to lead to such a ungraceful exit. Part of it might be personality and setting a new tone for the defence and franchise. Suh is a notorious tough guy, not necessarily a bad person, but an Alpha dog who is all business. McCoy was always a super nice guy, he even apologized to QB’s he’d sack, but he was also a tremendous asset to the community off the field. Regardless, it seems Arians wants a mean tone setter, and there are few meaner tone setters than Ndamukong Suh.
Lastly, it should certainly be noted that Suh and McCoy are different types of players. McCoy is at his best as a 1 gap penetrator, and is known for his quick first step, and tremendously gifted hand usage that allows him to be one of the best interior rushers of the last decade. Suh on the other hand, is a straight ass whooper, a man who simply overpowers and bullies who ever is in front of him. This gives Suh more versatility, since he can work as a one gapper himself, but also as a two gaping nose tackle if needed, and can even rush off the edge where his bull rush is unstoppable. Both players are good against the run and the pass, but I believe it’s that versatility that has Todd Bowles most excited to work with Suh.
While the two former top 3 picks of the 2010 NFL draft probably won’t be much different from a pure production standpoint, it is clear the Bucs have got the guy they want for their new defense. Suh can now partner with 2nd year behemoth Vita Vea to form perhaps the most powerful defensive interior line in NFL history- and the two players can move around and do much of the same things as well. And with the nearly 4 million dollars saved against the cap, the Bucs got their guy at the price they wanted too.