With Gerald McCoy officially becoming a free agent, it could be that much easier for the Cleveland Browns to acquire the defensive tackle they've had their eye on for the last few months. According to NFL sources talking to Cleveland.com, the team has started the process of wooing the defensive veteran. The real question now becomes how long will the process last and just how many other teams are going to jump into the sweepstakes?

Why trade when you can just sign?

The Browns had been talking with the Bucs since the NFL draft ended about working out a deal.

It appears Cleveland had decided they had the upper hand when it came to those talks since Tampa was on the hook for $13 million for McCoy. Whatever GM John Dorsey was willing to offer was clearly not something Tampa Bay was interested in, since McCoy was released on Monday.

It's also possible the Cleveland Browns decided there wasn't a need to offer anything at all until the money crunch really hit the Bucs and they had to fish or cut bait. Turns out they decided to cut bait. That could be a very big boon to a team that is hoping to turn itself into a playoff contender. They took the first steps to that last season with Baker Mayfield and Freddie Kitchens on offense. Now they're looking to add a weapon on defense.

One of the reasons why McCoy is such an attractive target for the Cleveland Browns is because he's been remarkably consistent over the course of his career. Since 2012, the defensive tackle has recorded at least five sacks a season.

While he saw a drop in tackles from 47 in 2017 to 28 in 2018, he had the same number of sacks (six) in both seasons.

Perhaps even better than the number McCoy has put up over the course of his career, is the way he's viewed by other players in the league. It appears there is at least one member of the Cleveland Browns that is actively campaigning for the team to bring the defensive tackle aboard, as soon as possible.

OBJ on board

When Adam Schefter announced on Twitter that Gerald McCoy was a free agent, one of the newest Cleveland Browns players made it clear he wanted the defensive tackle as a teammate. Odell Beckham Jr tweeted out a one-word campaign. "Cleveland!" That was all OBJ needed to say in order to make it very, very clear that he would like to see McCoy come to town.

The good news is that it appears that OBJ is preaching to the choir. John Dorsey has made no secret of the fact that he'd like to add to the defensive front. Insiders in the franchise have long been pointing to Gerald McCoy as the guy they are targeting. Now it's just a matter of figuring out whether or not the Cleveland Browns are going to be able to offer up what the defensive tackle is looking for in a new free-agent contract.