Projecting LeSean McCoy’s role with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Dare Ogunbowale
  • Ke'Shawn Vaughn
  • LeSean McCoy
  • Raymond Calais
  • Ronald Jones
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
By JT August 2, 2020 0 Comment

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have added LeSean McCoy to their running back room. Now focus turns to projecting his role with the Bucs.

On Thursday the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reached an agreement with free agent running back LeSean McCoy. According to Ian Rapoport, the deal is for the veteran minimum of just over $1 million. He is a big name, fresh off a super bowl win, ready to join the Bucs running back room. But what will his role be with the Bucs?

Primary Ball Carrier

To be blunt, it’s hard to imagine McCoy challenging returning starter Ronald Jones as the primary ball carrier. At 32 years old, McCoy just doesn’t have the explosiveness at this point in his career that Jones can provide. For the same reason, it’s less likely that McCoy can handle the physical punishment that Jones, who is nearly a decade younger, can endure. Bottom line, Jones is a bigger, faster, stronger and better player than McCoy at this point in his career.

The on the field reasons aside, the timing of this signing is a big indicator of how the Bucs view McCoy. It’s likely that if they wanted him to compete for the starting job they would have signed him much sooner. McCoy has been available for months yet only took a minimum offer after players have already started reporting to camp. Bringing him in at this particular time he feels like a depth piece that’s hedging the Bucs bets.

McCoy Vs Vaughn

It is no coincidence that McCoy was signed after rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn was placed on the COVID reserve list. Vaughn was drafted in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft. Vaughn was brought in to split time with Jones and be a pass catching threat out of the backfield. However, with no preseason games and missing time in what limited training camp there will be, Vaughn will have a lot of catching up to do when he rejoins the team.

McCoy brings a similar skill set as Vaughn. He can catch the ball well and still has enough tread on the tires to give Jones a break when needed. However, this will still likely become Vaughn’s job in time. It’s a safe bet to say that Vaughn will be healthy and caught up to speed by mid-season and McCoy could lose his touches to the younger, more expensive Vaughn. That gives McCoy short term, but not necessarily long term, value for the Bucs.

Special Teams

At 32 years old, it seems unlikely that McCoy would play any role on special teams. He’s taken a lot of physical punishment over the course of his eleven year career. Because of this, it doesn’t make sense to use him in this sort of demanding role. His lack of special teams value will further limit his opportunities to see playing time. Especially when the Bucs currently have three other running backs on the roster who do play special teams.

Long Term Role

Overall, McCoy will likely be at the bottom of the Bucs running back depth chart by mid-season, if he can keep a roster spot at all. As a guy who doesn’t bring special teams value, like a Dare Ogunbowale or Raymond Calais, McCoy will at best be depth and a veteran presence in a very young Bucs running back room.

It’s likely that McCoy will be a healthy scratch when everyone is full strength and acclimated. But with his ability to catch the ball and mentor these young running backs, he does bring value to this roster. The move might not seem like much now, but is one that can payoff in ways we won’t necessarily see on game day.

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