Colts have interest in Gerald McCoy

Gerald McCoy #93 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reacts after they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 27-21 at Raymond James Stadium on September 16, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Gerald McCoy is available and the Indianapolis Colts will at least kick the tires.

That’s where it stands as McCoy, a six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, looks to find a new home after being released this week by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Colts continue their search to upgrade the roster.

A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed the Colts have a level of interest in the 6′ 4″, 300-pound McCoy. They either have had or will have internal discussions regarding whether to actively pursue him.

General Manager Chris Ballard always has emphasized the importance of fielding strong offensive and defensive lines. That was evident in the latter instance in March when the Colts signed Justin Houston, whose 78.5 sacks rank 9th among active players, to a two-year, $23 million contract.

The defensive line currently features a slew of solid players: Houston, Jabaal Sheard, Denico Autry, Margus Hunt, Kemoko Turay, Tyquan Lewis, Jihad Ward and Grover Stewart. Gerri Green was selected in the sixth round of the April draft.

Recently, Ballard imagined a Colts’ pass rush strengthened by a swarm of ends.

“In a perfect world,’’ he said, “you’d put four defensive ends on the field. Absolutely, on rush downs. You want speed that can get off the ball and get after the quarterback.’’

McCoy, 31, isn’t an end. He’s one of the NFL’s more accomplished three-technique tackles, and has been a steady interior pass-rush presence. He had 54.5 sacks in 123 career games, all starts, with the Bucs and generated at least 5 in seven straight seasons. Along with his six Pro Bowl selections, he was selected All-Pro in 2013 when he posted a career-best 9.5 sacks.

McCoy also is considered someone who would bring high character and represent another leader and solid locker room presence.

If there is a sticking point to signing McCoy, it undoubtedly will be his cost.

Veterans generally sign modest one-year contracts at this point of the offseason, but McCoy isn’t a normal veteran free agent. The more teams that show an interest, the higher the cost.

But in that regard, money shouldn’t necessarily be an issue. The Colts have nearly $58 million in cap space, the most in the league.

McCoy’s relocation might be influenced by a team’s readiness to compete for a playoff spot, but he’ll also be swayed by finances. Tampa Bay released him when he refused to take a pay cut from his $13 million salary.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51

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