TAMPA — Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is entering the final year of his rookie contract, a five-year, $63 million pact that will pay him $10.295 million this year.
The Bucs have already said that re-signing McCoy to a long-term deal is a high priority but negotiations aimed at securing a new deal for the two-time Pro Bowler may not have even begun.
Not to worry. McCoy talked on Tuesday as if his contract negotiations were the least of his concerns, guaranteeing his presence for the start of training camp at a time when his leverage in such negotiations could hardly be better.
“When they say to report to camp, Gerald McCoy will be there, regardless of what happens,’’ McCoy said.
Spoken like a true captain and the leader of a defense that McCoy knows he is. But McCoy remains a very humble player, explaining that there is still a lot he has yet to accomplish as a pro.
“There’s a lot I haven’t done,’’ he said. “I haven’t been a defensive player of the year. I’ve never played in a playoff game. I haven’t been to a Super Bowl. My defense hasn’t finished in the top five.
“There is so much more that I can do, not personally, but just helping my team go to the next level. You just never got it. If you win one defensive player of the year, go win it again. There are a lot of different things you can build off of and that I can reach.’’