Gerald McCoy's first season in Dallas ended Monday with a torn quadriceps tendon and, on Tuesday, it ended his time with the Cowboys entirely.
Dallas released McCoy via injury waiver Tuesday, according to the official transaction wire.
McCoy signed a three-year, $18.3 million deal with Dallas in the offseason after spending one year in Carolina. On the surface, such a deal seemed to ensure at least some sort of security for the 32-year-old defensive tackle, but embedded within the contract was a clause that offered the Cowboys a chance to sever ties with minimal repercussions in the event one specific injury occurred.
On Monday, that possible outcome became reality when McCoy suffered the torn right quadriceps tendon.
Paragraph 35 of McCoy's contract detailed an injury waiver related specifically to what the Cowboys determined could be a health risk when examining McCoy prior to offering a contract. In the opening two lines of the paragraph, the team identified McCoy as having "right knee chronic quad tendinitis and related structures." The following line lists McCoy as having acknowledged their discovery of his pre-existing condition's existence.
McCoy loses out on $2.5 million in base salary guarantees he'd otherwise have received if a different injury had ended his season. In paragraph 25 of McCoy's contract (obtained by NFL Network's Mike Garafolo), it states:
"In the event this NFL Player Contract is terminated due to a deterioration or aggravation of the physical condition set forth in Paragraph 35 of this addendum or due to any other injury to Player's Right Quad Tendon that is related to the pre-existing condition set forth in Paragraph 35, then this Guarantee is null and void."
A line in the injury waiver section also makes clear that Dallas would not have signed McCoy had he not agreed to the injury waiver. However unfortunate, it exists for good reason: McCoy battled through knee and quadriceps issues through much of last season and there was a legitimate risk he could again suffer such an injury with the Cowboys. As an organization, Dallas financially protected itself against such an outcome ahead of time.
For McCoy, it's simply unfortunate that such an injury would occur at this stage of his career, especially considering he'd had a productive single season in Carolina after Tampa Bay unceremoniously dumped him in 2019. The veteran, who was headed for his 11th season, was expected to make an impact for a team that should contend for its division and more, and he'll instead spend the season recovering and rehabbing.
Team beat writer Nick Eatman noted on Twitter the team has hopes of re-signing McCoy once he's healthy, but at this point, those are just hopes. It's a long road for McCoy between now and then.