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Seahawks could really use Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy, but can they get him?

The Seahawks could go after Gerald McCoy, a six-time Pro Bowl DT, in free agency. (AP)

The Seahawks opened up a bunch of salary cap space by trading Frank Clark to the Kansas City Chiefs prior to the NFL Draft, but they created a hole on their defensive line in the process.

Lucky for them, Gerald McCoy just became available.

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Who is McCoy? He’s a six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle who at 31 is still plenty productive even though he and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers “mutually parted ways” on Monday, having made six sacks and 21 quarterback hits in 2018.

It’s rare for a player of McCoy’s skill level to hit the open market at this point in the offseason, and even more rare for any player to get a multi-year deal as a free agent in May or June.

McCoy might end up being the exception to the rule.

“I think it should be a pretty good market for him,” Pro Football Hall of Fame writer and 710 ESPN Seattle host John Clayton said Tuesday on Brock and Salk. “We’ll see how the bidding goes.”

Should the Seahawks be in the mix of that bidding?

“Oh, I’ve got a lot of interest in him,” said Brock Huard, a former NFL quarterback and current 710 ESPN Seattle host and FOX college football analyst. “(But) I don’t think you’re going to get him.”

A whole different ball game

Even though May and June hasn’t typically been a time when players have signed big contracts, the way teams have been operating this offseason could shift the scales in McCoy’s favor. With teams required to lose compensatory draft picks if they sign top free agents in the first two phases of free agency, teams – including the Seahawks – have waited longer to sign players, meaning there are more teams right now with enough cap space to take on a contract like the one McCoy would command than in previous years.

“This is a different dynamic right now. When have the Seahawks ever had six street free agents of the caliber they were able to sign, including one that was franchise-tagged just a year before in Ziggy Ansah?” asked Huard. “It’s the beauty of the NFL, man. It just doesn’t sit idle and sit still. And I’ll credit (Bill) Belichick in New England for a lot of this. He played everybody ahead of time, which he always seemingly does. The whole comp pick thing – ‘I’m not gonna do it. I’ll wait until after the period ends to sign Jared Veldheer and others. I’m gonna have more draft picks and more capital and keep moving it around.’ And others are like ‘That’s pretty savvy.’”

Two teams Huard and Clayton expect to challenge the Seahawks to sign McCoy are the Browns and Colts.

“Cleveland’s the one team that seems to be talking the most about him, or at least the one team that’s out there,” Clayton said.

When Huard added that Indianapolis is another playoff contending team with cap space, Clayton replied, “Both teams are in great shape.”

Making the case for the Seahawks

So why could the Seahawks win in a bidding war for McCoy?

“What does he want? You want to go to a playoff contender? The Seahawks are that,” Huard said. “You want to go to a stable and incredible organization? The Seahawks are that. You want to go someplace with no state income tax? The Seahawks are that.”

Huard said if he was Seahawks general manager John Schneider, he’d be willing to go up to $10 million for a one-year contract with McCoy. But Schneider also has to consider what that might signal to All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner and rising defensive tackle Jarran Reed, who are both in line for contract extensions.

“If this is just a one-year deal, I would love to see that, especially if it’s a number like John (Clayton) said anywhere near $5 million. That’s not going to rock the boat with Jarran and Bobby  so sign me up for all of that.

“I will just be very curious to see how this market unfolds.”

More from Brock Huard: Could Seahawks move Lockett into slot?