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Lovie Smith wants Gerald McCoy's contract extended

New coach Lovie Smith has already identified the most valuable player on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' roster.

Speaking at the NFL Annual Meeting on Wednesday, Smith emphasized that it's "very important" to work out a contract extension for All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.


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"The guys who drafted him did a great job," Smith said, via PewterReport.com. "I know right now coming in he's going to be one of our leaders.

"Through free agency, (he said) 'What can I do?' Gerald was popping up on the phone quite a bit, texting me, excited about who we're getting, what we're doing with his new teammates. So yes, that is definitely a priority. He's a guy that we definitely want around for a while, to say the least."

With Bengals star Geno Atkins sidelined by an ACL injury, McCoy took over as the NFL's most dominant three-technique tackle last season. He likely will be seeking a contract that exceeds the five-year, $55 million deal signed by Atkins last September.

In McCoy, linebacker Lavonte David and newly signed cornerback Alterraun Verner, Smith has 2013 All-Pro or Pro Bowl picks at all three levels of his defense.

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