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Report: Buccaneers, Gerald McCoy open contract talks

It didn't take long for new coach Lovie Smith to identify defensive tackle Gerald McCoy as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' most valuable player.

Two months after taking the job, Smith emphasized that a contract extension for the 2013 first-team All-Pro is a top priority of the offseason.

The organization has now opened negotiations with McCoy's camp, reports Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

McCoy is scheduled to earn roughly $15 million in the final year of his rookie contract. A new deal would ostensibly lower his salary cap number for this season.

It will be interesting to see if McCoy waits for Ndamukong Suh to sign a new deal in Detroit and set the new three-technique defensive tackle market. Both players will top the the five-year, $55 million deal signed by Geno Atkins last September.

Whereas Suh's antics have generated controversy and questions about leadership, McCoy is a team captain and a tone-setter in Tampa.

There's a strong argument to be made that McCoy has also been the better player to date.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" predicts 2014 starting lineups and talks insider goodness with Bucky Brooks.

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