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Cowboys free agent signee Gerald McCoy ready to be a three-down lineman again

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Cowboys new defensive lineman didn’t like being rotated out.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys were noticeably absent a quality core of defensive tackles heading into free agency. They had Trysten Hill, who underwhelmed in his rookie season, and that’s probably a gentle analysis. There is Tyrone Crawford, who has been a hybrid defensive tackle/end in his time in Dallas. Antwaun Woods was an ERFA so Dallas could have locked him up on the cheap with the stroke of a pen, but so far there is no news on that front.

So when they signed veteran Gerald McCoy, it helped fill a gap in the roster and gave them some flexibility going forward. We’ve already done a few analysis pieces about McCoy and how he might fit in the Cowboys defense. But McCoy took to the airwaves recently to make one thing clear about how he thinks he will fit into the Cowboys defense. He doesn’t want to come off the field.

Newly signed Cowboys defensive tackle Gerald McCoy played in every game for the Panthers last season, but played a smaller percentage of snaps than he played in all but one of his seven seasons with the Buccaneers.

McCoy missed three games that season in Tampa, so last year represented a new low and he said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he “actually had a dispute with the coaches last year in Carolina because they were taking me out of the game.” He went on to say that he feels he’s still a three-down player and that he’ll go back to being one in Dallas this year.

“I had never rotated as much as I did last year in Carolina,” McCoy said. “Ever. Ever. That’s not what I was used to. That’s honestly not even what I like to do. I’ll play all game if I have to. . . . I’m an every down guy, that hasn’t changed and I don’t plan on it changing this year.”

You have to like the guy’s determination. And given the current state of the Cowboys defensive tackle room, he just might have to play all game. Of course the Cowboys will be adding pieces to the defensive tackle rotation in free agency and the draft, so there will be help coming. Still, McCoy is not keen on being a situational player.

McCoy played on 63% of the defensive snaps last year for Carolina and that was a career low besides the season he missed three games in Tampa Bay. Previous to last year, McCoy was playing roughly 75% of the snaps on defense. He’s also been pretty durable in his career, only missing eight games in his career.