The Dallas Cowboys defense was one of the worst in the NFL in 2020. They finished bottom five in points given up per game (29.6), rushing yards allowed per game (158.8), and rushing first downs allowed per game (8.9).
As a result, the Cowboys could use help at the defensive tackle position to help bolster their run defense. One name that I believe is a solid fit is former Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
McCoy was signed by the Cowboys last offseason for a three-year, $18.3 million deal. However, his time in Dallas was cut short when he suffered a ruptured quad injury during practice that cost him the season. The Cowboys released him soon after.
Could we see Gerald McCoy in a Cowboys uniform again, assuming that he has fully recovered from his injury?
Why the Dallas Cowboys should re-sign Gerald McCoy
Is McCoy the hottest defensive tackle on the market in free agency? Not necessarily, considering he is coming off a season-ending injury and he will turn 33 on Feb. 25.
However, his experience in the NFL can help the younger players on the Cowboys defensive line to develop. If signed, McCoy would enter his 11th season in the NFL where he has accumulated 334 tackles and 59.5 sacks through 10 seasons.
Defensive tackles on the Cowboys like Neville Gallimore and Trysten Hill are perfect examples of players who still need to develop. Gallimore (24) and Hill (22) could use a mentor like McCoy who has done it for so many years.
Additionally, McCoy could help improve the Cowboys’ defensive line immediately. Standing at 6-foot-4, 300-pounds, his frame makes it hard for any offensive lineman to block him as an interior disruptor. It also shows how potentially dangerous McCoy could be in the run game, although he hasn’t actually played since 2019.
With two of Dallas’ defensive linemen, Tyrone Crawford (UFA) and Antawun Woods (RFA), set to be free agents, Dallas will need to replace them. I believe McCoy still has enough left in the tank to contribute on the defensive side of the ball for Dallas. In 2019, he started all 16 games for the Carolina Panthers, added 5.0 sacks with 37 total tackles (seven for loss) and 13 quarterback hits.
It certainly appears that McCoy may be past his prime, as he hasn’t made the Pro Bowl since 2017 and will be 33-years old when the season starts. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that he still can’t be an impactful presence on the field and potentially help a Cowboys defense that really needs it.
This past season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh showed just how effective a player in his 30’s can be. Suh, 33, started all 16 games for the Buccs and was a key part of their defense. He appeared to have plenty left in the tank considering his 6.0 sacks and 44 tackles in 2020.
Gerald McCoy could have a very similar role with the Dallas Cowboys as Suh did with Tampa Bay this past season. Coming off a season-ending injury, the Cowboys may even be able to sign the four-time All-Pro to a very team-friendly deal to continue what he didn’t get a chance to start last year in Dallas.