Carolina Panthers sign 6-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy

Greg Olsen

Greg Olsen

The six-time Pro Bowler with 54.5 career sacks as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer appears to be carefully weighing his next step.

The Panthers also had one big advantage that the two AFC North teams didn't have: They'll be able to give McCoy a chance to get some payback on the Buccaneers. Head coach Ron Rivera would obviously love for it to be in Carolina.

The Gerald McCoy sweepstakes has involved plenty of teams, including the New England Patriots at one point, but it finally came to a close Monday, with the defensive tackle remaining in the same division.

McCoy left Baltimore thinking he might sign there, sources told Schefter, but Carolina wowed him on his visit and quarterback Cam Newton helped recruit McCoy.

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McCoy has 39.5 sacks since 2010 when lined up as a defensive tackle, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Panthers also released Matt Kalil with those two moves freeing up almost $9 million in cap space. "He's going through the process, so we're just waiting patiently to see what the outcome is going to be".

"Carolina was a great fit for me. Being around the guys we just meshed & I love the instant chemistry we had", McCoy texted ESPN's Josina Anderson. They have a tradition of having a great defense.

The Panthers are already strong at defensive tackle with Pro Bowlers Kawann Short and Dontari Poe on roster. After hiring Bruce Arians as head coach on January 8, the Buccaneers reportedly remained uncommitted to bringing back McCoy throughout the offseason.

Despite all the interest, McCoy decided he was only going to visit with three teams: The Browns, Ravens and Panthers. Carolina hosts Tampa Bay in Week 2 in a primetime Thursday Night Football matchup. Check back for updates.

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