After making a huge effort to court the star defensive tackle, Baltimore witnessed him choose another suitor.
It’s no secret that the Baltimore Ravens want to be known as the defensive kings of the NFL. The mentality to dominate the opposition through pure strength and raw physicality made the Ravens one of the best teams in the National Football League for over two decades. It should be no surprise that Baltimore wanted to grab one of the most physical and dominant defensive tackles in the league once he became available. Baltimore pursued Gerald McCoy with vigor, and early indications pointed to a potential match. But Baltimore’s relationship with McCoy is one of unrequited love.
McCoy spent two days in Baltimore and was courted by Eric DeCosta, John Harbaugh, assistant coaches, and players. The visit was successful, and McCoy even sat in on Haloti Ngata’s retirement press conference. But McCoy left town without a deal. This was not a great sign, to say the least. The Ravens always try to lock down free agents on visits. McCoy visited Cleveland before Baltimore and walked out without a deal. He then went on to Carolina, and again, left without a deal. He was taking his time to make a decision, and many Ravens fans fell confident that he would choose the reigning AFC North Champions.
McCoy did not choose the Ravens. He chose the Panthers. Why? For starters, Carolina was willing to give him a deal worth up to $10.25 million for one year, with a $4 million signing bonus, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that McCoy’s contract is riddled with incentives. $500,0000 for being on the roster in training camp, $500,000 per game bonus as long as he’s active, $500,000 if he records 6.5 sacks, $1,000,000 extra if he gets 8 sacks, $250,000 if he makes the Pro Bowl, and another $250,000 if the Panthers make the playoffs. His base salary is only $3 million, and only $4 million is guaranteed. But this is not a problem for McCoy, because he wants to compete and play for a contender. He can do both in Carolina.
He could have done both in Baltimore too, and the Ravens had the cap space to sign him. Despite this, McCoy wanted to stay in the South, per Rapoport and being able to play in the NFC South to enact revenge on the Buccaneers twice a year was too enticing to pass up.
But hey, at least he didn’t sign with Cleveland!