McCoy was drafted by the Buccaneers in 2010, and the team is keen to see the two-time Pro Bowl star extend his stay as he enters the final 12 months of his rookie deal.
"I think Gerald signing is very important," Smith told Pewter Report. "The first guy to contact me when I was sitting in my basement down there in Chicago was Gerald McCoy. He said, 'I can't wait to get started.'
"I know right now he's going to be one of our leaders. Through free agency, Gerald was popping up on the phone quite a bit, texting me, excited about who we're getting, what we're doing with his new teammates.
"So yes, him staying is definitely a priority. He's a guy that we definitely want around for a while, to say the least."
McCoy recorded a team-high 9.5 sacks last season, though the team struggled and missed out on a playoff place.