Cowboys Agree to Free-Agent Deal With Former All-Pro Defender: Report

Gerald McCoy

Getty Gerald McCoy

And on Day 2 of NFL free agency, the Dallas Cowboys awakened.

According to media reports, the Cowboys on Tuesday signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Gerald McCoy to a three-year, $20 million contract, per Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News.

The deal — pending a physical — hasn’t been announced by the team and can’t become official until 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the start of the new league year.

A six-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time first-team All-Pro, McCoy went one-and-done with the Carolina Panthers in 2019, after joining the club last June. He registered 37 tackles, five sacks, and two pass breakups across 16 starts, proving he’s still a highly capable interior disruptor.

Before landing in Carolina, McCoy honed an all-star pass-rushing reputation in Tampa. He spent his first nine professional seasons with the Buccaneers and totaled 297 tackles (220 solo), 140 quarterback hits, 79 tackles for loss, and 54.5 sacks across 123 games. The production warranted an eight-year, $108.5 million ($51.5 million guaranteed) extension in 2014.

McCoy entered the league as the third overall pick in the 2010 draft. He played collegiately at Oklahoma, where he was a consensus first-team All-American.

Gerald McCoy’s Role With Cowboys

For his age-32 campaign, McCoy should be an immediate starter for the Cowboys and new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who likely was drawn to his ability to function as a 5-, 3- or 1-technique lineman — that is, the versatility to work along the edges, kick inside, or handle nose duties.

McCoy’s addition helps offset the free-agent defections of 2019 team sack leader Robert Quinn and starting DT Maliek Collins. Quinn landed a five-year, $70 million contract from the Chicago Bears, while Collins took his talents to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Dallas also has lost starting cornerback Byron Jones (Miami Dolphins), safety Jeff Heath (Raiders), tight end Jason Witten (Raiders), and wide receiver Randall Cobb (Houston Texans) to outside competition.

McCoy is the first out-of-house player to sign with the Cowboys this offseason. The team has prioritized its own free agents in recent days, locking down linebacker Sean Lee, tight end Blake Jarwin, and long snapper L. P. Ladouceur.

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Cowboys Predicted to Sign 3x Pro Bowl Pass-Rusher

Dallas lost Quinn and, according to one NFL prognosticator, already have his replacement lined up. Appearing on NFL Network, former Cleveland Browns All-Pro offensive tackle-turned-analyst Joe Thomas predicted that free-agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will put pen to paper with the Cowboys.

“I think the Cowboys are the team that is going to land Jadeveon Clowney,” Thomas said Tuesday, via RJ Ochoa of Blogging The Boys. “They just lost Robert Quinn. They’re looking for somebody who can make an impact on that defense because they think they have a championship roster everywhere else.”

The best edge rusher on the open market, Clowney has no shortage of suitors and no shame in his financial wants — “something in the $20-million-a-year range,” according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano. estimates Clowney will ink a six-year, $120.3 million ($20.05 million annually) contract, aligning him with the $21 million-per-year extension ($105 million total value) that Dallas gave DE DeMarcus Lawrence last offseason.

Teams interested in Clowney include the New York Giants, where the 27-year-old prefers to play, and the Seahawks, who are “making attempts” to bring him back. If wrangled by the Cowboys, Clowney would start opposite Lawrence, likely forcing “overpaid” DE Tyrone Crawford off the roster.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL