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Bruce Arians: Gerald McCoy “just didn’t fit”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians made no secret of how he appreciates an old-school, hard-nosed player like Ndamukong Suh, even in an era where the NFL wants to make the game safer.

The Buccaneers swapped defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and his $13 million salary for defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and his $9.25 million salary. So why did they essentially trade the third pick in the 2010 draft for the second pick in the 2010 draft.

It just wasn’t a fit,” coach Bruce Arians said Friday in an appearance on ESPN, via “Whether it was financial, whatever, on the field, you know, it just didn’t fit. I’ve been through this a number of times with guys and great players and it just comes a time when they have to separate the organization. You go back to Franco Harris not being a Steeler. This has happened for a long, long time.”

Arians is right, but in the case of McCoy versus Suh, the Bucs actually replaced an older player with someone who is more than a year older. Arians attributed the desire to embrace Suh over McCoy to “consistency.”

“He never misses a game, very seldom ever misses a practice,” Arians said of Suh. “Plays extremely hard the way I like to play. He fits our three-man scheme a lot better in terms of his versatility up and down the front.”

Since missing 10 games due to injury in his second season, McCoy has missed only eight games in seven season. But Suh has missed only two during his entire career -- and that was due to suspension not injury.

The scheme-fit issue makes sense. If the Bucs’ coaching staff believes Suh will perform better in Todd Bowles’ defense, so be it. Regardless, people will be closely comparing the respective performances in 2019 of Suh and McCoy, who will choose next week from among the Browns, Ravens, and Panthers.