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Lovie Smith: Buccaneers' priority is to extend Gerald McCoy

An extension for Tampa By Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is high on the team's offseason priorities. The Buccaneers have prioritized signing DT Gerald McCoy to an extension this offseason. (Cliff Welch/Icon SMI)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hoping that their new uniforms and logo will breathe some life into the franchise and help change the attitude of those within the organization as they attempt to turn things around, but you can only do so much until you lock down the foundational players on your team with the contracts they deserve.

One of the players most deserving of a long-term deal is defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who is set to enter the final year of his rookie contract and earn $10.295 million in 2014.

Last season, McCoy earned first-team All-Pro honors by recording nine sacks and being a terror all over the field, and now the Buccaneers are looking to make it a priority to extend McCoy.

"We want him around for a long time," Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

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The Buccaneers got McCoy some help along the defensive front during the free agency period by signing defensive end Michael Johnson away from the Cincinnati Bengals, so if the two can work together fans should see a dynamic duo in the trenches for Tampa Bay this season.

If the defensive line is able to do its job up front, things will be that much easier for the team's secondary, including new starting cornerback Alterraun Verner.

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