Gerald McCoy's first season in Dallas is over before it started.
McCoy suffered a ruptured quadriceps tendon during practice Monday and will miss the entire 2020 season, Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones told reporters.
The initial fear was that McCoy had suffered a torn ACL after going down with a leg injury practice, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Jane Slater reported. The ensuing MRI exam, however, revealed the quad tear and McCoy will need season-ending surgery.
McCoy appeared to suffer the injury during individual drills and needed to be helped off the field, according to The Athletic's Jon Machota.
McCoy has become a typical veteran mercenary in the last year or so after his nine-year run with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came to an unceremonious end in 2019. The defensive tackle stayed in the NFC South last season by signing with the Carolina Panthers, recording 37 tackles and five sacks in his lone season in Charlotte. Thanks to a youth movement under a new regime in Carolina, McCoy moved southwest in search of a new gig after 2019.
The pursuit of employment led him to Dallas, where the 32-year-old McCoy signed a three-year deal to replace the departed Maliek Collins on the defensive line. The former third-overall pick of the 2010 draft has appeared in at least 13 games in all but one of his 10 NFL seasons, and was expected to be a reliable starter up front with the ability to pressure the quarterback up the middle and still register a tackle for loss here and there.
With fellow offseason addition Dontari Poe (quadriceps) landing on the physically unable to perform list to start camp, Dallas' remade defensive interior is missing its new pieces. Another former Oklahoma Sooner, rookie Neville Gallimore, is in line behind Antwaun Woods and Trysten Hill to receive reps in place of the two veterans. Jones also mentioned the newly signed Everson Griffen when pointing out the Cowboys' depth at the position despite the loss of McCoy.
"That's why you have to have a deep roster," Jones said, per the team's official website. "Obviously why you sign a guy like Everson Griffen. You never know when things like this are going to happen. It's certainly disappointing. First and foremost we're disappointed for Gerald. I know he was fired up about being here. But also, it's disappointing for us. He was one of our major acquisitions here in the offseason and free agency. But having said that this will give Trysten Hill and Gallimore an opportunity to really step up now. Two young players we will need to come through for us."
Poe is expected to return sooner rather than later, but with McCoy's injury spelling an end to his 2020 season, the Cowboys should already be looking at Plan B up front with less than a month to go before the start of the regular season.