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The NFL is a business. And the Dallas Cowboys just proved how ruthless a business it is. Just a day after defensive tackle Gerald McCoy suffered a season-ending injury to his quad, and just hours after his surgery, the Cowboys made a surprising move and waived the six-time Pro Bowler and saved millions in the process.

Dallas Cowboys sign Gerald McCoy

The Dallas Cowboys signed veteran defensive tackle Gerald McCoy in March to a three-year, $18.3 million contract, with $9 million guaranteed. The Cowboys brought in the six-time Pro Bowler to anchor a defensive line and work alongside other key offseason acquisitions, including Dontari Poe, Everson Griffen, and Aldon Smith.

The 32-year-old McCoy is entering his 11th NFL season. Last season, McCoy’s only year in Carolina, he recorded 37 combined tackles and five sacks. McCoy spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which drafted him No. 3 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Gerald McCoy made an immediate impact his rookie season starting 13 games. For his career, he has recorded 334 combined tackles and 59.5 sacks in 139 career games.

Gerald McCoy suffers season-ending injury

Gerald McCoy wore the Dallas Cowboys uniform with pads for a few minutes in training camp, and just like that, it was over. The veteran defensive lineman suffered an injury when fellow defensive lineman Antwaun Woods inadvertently stepped on McCoy’s foot during a drill as he backpedaled. McCoy collapsed to the ground, holding his right knee. 

It was diagnosed as a torn right quad tendon. McCoy’s season was over before it ever started. Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy said in his daily news conference that the injury is devastating on multiple levels.

“It makes you sick on a personal level any time you see a player go through this type of injury. I can’t tell you what he has meant to our D-line just in the short time we’ve been together.”

The Cowboys announced McCoy was scheduled for surgery later in the week and would be placed on IR for the season. 

Dallas Cowboys make surprise move and waive McCoy

A day after the injury, Gerald McCoy went in for surgery to repair his injured right quad. A few hours later, the Dallas Cowboys waived him from the roster. It was a surprise move but one the Cowboys were able to make because of specific language included in McCoy’s contract.

Because McCoy had chronic tendinitis, his initial physical with the Cowboys raised concerns with his right knee and quadriceps. As a result, the team included specific language in the contract that protected the club should the defensive lineman sustain that specific injury. Unfortunately for McCoy, that’s exactly what happened. 

With the move, McCoy will receive his $3 million signing bonus, but the Cowboys save $4.75 million over the next two seasons. While the transaction seems harsh, the Cowboys reportedly are “very interested” in bringing McCoy back in 2021 and he has indicated to McCarthy that Dallas is where he wants to play in the future.

“He expressed not only a desire to be here but to be part of what we’ve started here,” McCarthy said. “Obviously, he’s very comfortable and this is where he wants to be. That’s exactly what he communicated to me.”

McCoy’s willingness to hang around shows that, despite being released from the team, he’s a team player, and wants to help in whatever way he can. That bodes well both for his future and the Cowboys’ future whenever he is able to return. 

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.