Gerald McCoy has reportedly chosen a new team, and it’s not the Ravens.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, McCoy will sign with the Carolina Panthers, who reported the deal is for one year, $8.5 million.
The six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle has long been regarded as one of the NFL’s top interior linemen with 54 ½ sacks during his nine seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
His ability to bring pressure up the middle would have been welcomed by the Ravens, who lost outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith, as well as inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, during free agency.
The 31-year-old McCoy drew considerable interest around the league and visited with the Browns and Ravens before ending with a trip to Carolina on Friday.
Owner Steve Bisciotti and Head Coach John Harbaugh came away impressed and hoped McCoy would sign with Baltimore. McCoy also has a close relationship with Defensive Line Coach Joe Cullen, who was McCoy’s defensive line coach for two seasons (2014-15) at the Buccaneers.
However, instead of playing in the AFC North with either the Ravens or the rival Browns, McCoy will remain in the NFC South and face his former team twice next season. Schefter also reported that Panthers quarterback Cam Newton played a key role in the recruitment of McCoy.
With McCoy no longer a possibility, the Ravens still have a deep defensive line rotation that includes Pro Bowl nose tackle Brandon Williams, Michael Pierce, Willie Henry, Chris Wormley, Zach Sieler and fifth-round pick Daylon Mack. It also leaves the Ravens more salary cap to make other moves this offseason if deemed necessary.