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Report: Browns are on Gerald McCoy’s “short list” of teams

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Cleveland, needing depth on defensive line, could look to the three-time All-Pro for help.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns are reportedly on the “short list” of teams that defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is considering.

That is according to Mary Kay Cabot at cleveland.com, who cites a league source as saying that the Browns “intrigue” McCoy and that he will be visiting Cleveland in the very near future to talk with general manager John Dorsey.

McCoy will reportedly be in Cleveland on Friday to talk with the Browns, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo:

The Browns have reportedly had their eye on McCoy for a while now, but were reluctant to enter into trade talks as it was widely expected across the league that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would have to release the three-time All-Pro defensive tackle due to salary cap issues.

The inevitable finally became reality on Tuesday when Tampa Bay “mutually parted ways” with McCoy, who made six Pro Bowl appearances in his nine seasons with the Buccaneers. The veteran is now studying his options, and while almost every team in the league has been linked to him, Cabot reports that McCoy is only considering three or four teams, a group that in addition to the Browns includes the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals - and may make a decision in the next few weeks.

The Browns could certainly use McCoy’s help, even after signing defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson in free agency. A lack of quality depth last season led the team to overwork the starters, most notably defensive end Myles Garrett and defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi:

The 31-year-old McCoy might be a bit older than one would like to see in a free agent, but he has continued to be a productive player, as NFL.com points out:

The defensive tackle has amassed at least five sacks in each of the last seven seasons, the league’s longest active streak among DTs. Since 2010, McCoy has 50.5 sacks, the third-most among all defensive tackles. His six Pro Bowl selections since 2012 are tied with Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins for the most among defensive lineman.

The Browns would seem to be appealing as they are a team on the rise, which would be a refreshing change for McCoy, who played on teams in Tampa that finished in last place in the NFC South Division seven times in his nine seasons.

If McCoy is willing to accept a reduced role, creating a defensive tackle rotation of McCoy, Richardson and Ogunjobi would create a nice middle of the defensive line for the Browns.