Who will the Bucs Pair at Defensive Tackle with Gerald McCoy?

Defensive Tackle could be a sneaky position the Bucs look to upgrade this off-season.

Over the next few weeks, I will be breaking down each position on the Bucs roster. During this process, I will discuss who stays, who goes, top free agent targets that make sense, and players that fit the position in the draft.

We have already looked at the following positions:

Wide Receivers
Safeties
Running Backs
Linebackers
Quarterbacks 
Cornerbacks
Tight Ends

Today, we focus on the Bucs' Defensive Tackles.

Current Roster:

Player

Under Contract

2016 Cap Number

Stays/Goes

Comment

Gerald McCoy

Thru 2021

$13 million

Stays

Like it or not, 2016 could be a big year for McCoy. He needs to prove he can make impact plays throughout a game, but more importantly in the 4th quarter. Next off-season his guaranteed money fizzles to just $1 million, so he needs to prove his worth if he wants to stick around long term.

Clinton McDonald

Thru 2017

$3.25 million

Stays

McDonald is a leader on defense and a veteran presence. I do think he may start the year as a starter, but the Bucs should look to improve his spot for the long term with a young player.

Akeem Spence

Thru 2016

$1.8 million

Stays

I put “stays,” but if the Bucs sign a DT in free agency and draft one, I could see Spence on the bubble. His salary escalated from $670,000 in 2015 to $1.8 mil this year.

Henry Melton

UFA

$0

Goes

He’s gone.

Tony McDaniel

UFA

$0

Goes

I like McDaniel, but don’t love him. I think the Bucs can upgrade from McDonald, but then move McDonald into a backup role. I just can’t justify another $3 mil salary for McDaniel.

Derrick Lott

Thru 2017

$450,000

Stays

The Bucs held onto Lott for a majority of last season. He is a developmental player with excellent size. I think there is something about him the Bucs really like.

Davon Coleman

Thru 2017

$600,000

Goes

Coleman’s spot could be interchangeable as other DTs are brought in.

Top Free Agent Targets:

Nick Fairley - LA Rams
If the Bucs want to put an impact player next to Gerald McCoy, Fairley could be an option. There are still question marks that surround Fairley, but that might drive down his price too. 

Brandon Thompson - Cincinnati Bengals
Thompson has experience with new Bucs' DL coach Jay Hayes and will be cheap as he is coming off a torn ACL. Still just 26 years old, Thompson could provide excellent depth if he returns to his pre-injury form. 

Jaye Howard - Kansas City Chiefs
The former Florida Gator is one of the more underrated potential free agents out there. He's played in the Chiefs'3-4 defense, but I think he'd strive in the Bucs new hybrid system.

Top Names in the Draft

Early:
Sheldon Rankins - Louisville
Jarran Reed - Alabama
A'shawn Robinson - Alabama
Robert Nkemdiche - Ole Miss
Vernon Butler - Louisiana Tech
Austin Johnson - Penn State
Chris Jones - Mississippi State

Later:
Javon Hargrave - South Carolina State
Matt Ioannidis - Temple
Adam Gotsis - Georgia Tech
Quitnton Jefferson - Maryland


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