The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have struggled defensively, so they are hoping to improve next season. As part of that, they are sticking with Gerald McCoy. McCoy now stays out of the free agent market. With new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles in control, McCoy will have to work with a new defensive game plan.

The Tampa Bay Times says that Gerald McCoy was expected to be released to save cap space. Now, Gerald McCoy is returning to Tampa in his tenth season. Gerald McCoy will swap roles and now play occasionally as the defensive end, within Bowles' 3-4 defensive gameplan.

Gerald McCoy was a shining star defensively during a disastrous season

The Tampa Bay Bucs ended the season 5-11, and a horrible defense is partially to blame. McCoy though, was a shining star, recording six sacks and 21 quarterback hits. ESPN originally suggested that McCoy was going to be released during the offseason. McCoy originally thought he would be released, sending out a tweet saying embrace change, even when it slaps you in the face.

The Tampa Bay Bucs have under $16 million in cap space. The team is hoping to bring back some of their veterans including Kwon Alexander (LB), Adam Humphries (WR) and Donovan Smith (LT). McCoy has only two years left on his contract, after the 2019 season.

The Bucs will continue to struggle if they actually got rid of one of their top defensives stars.

Defensive star Gerald McCoy here to stay for a while

Bucs new head coach Bruce Arians analyzed McCoy's work and believes he's a good fit for Bowles' new defensive strategy. McCoy believed he was going to stay in Tampa this year, but rumors swirled that he could possibly be traded or even take a pay cut.

Now those rumors have been put to rest because he still delivers and leads the defense.

Fans and those in the media have been critical of McCoy's performance, but Gerald McCoy says he gives to the Bucs everything he has on and off the field. McCoy will stay a Buc for one more season. Following the end of the Bucs disappointing season, he addressed the media, thanking the Glazer family for giving him the opportunity to make a dream a reality.

Nobody has been with the Bucs longer, dealing with many sub-par coaches, or do as much to get so little in return. You don't have to agree with the Bucs decision to keep him, but McCoy has earned every ounce of success this team has with the new Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles regime. We will have to wait and see where McCoy goes from here.