FRISCO, Texas – Gerald McCoy likely had other destination options in free agency, but picking the Cowboys was a "no-brainer."
The veteran defensive lineman told SiriusXM NFL Radio that Dallas is "a perfect situation" for several reasons. First, it was his childhood dream to play for America's Team.
"Overall, it's the star," he said. "I grew up two and a half hours away in Oklahoma City. So, some portion of everybody at some point supported the Dallas Cowboys because it's all we had. The University of Oklahoma, which I ended up going to, was our NFL team. But the closest thing was the Dallas Cowboys. So that's just kind of what people went with.
"So it's almost like a dream come true to play for a team that I grew up watching and admired."
McCoy, who reportedly agreed to a three-year deal, has made three Pro Bowls in 10 seasons with the Bucs and Panthers. The 6-4, 300-pound lineman has 59.5 career sacks, including 5.0 with Carolina last year.
Although the defense figures to change schematically under new coordinator Mike Nolan, McCoy looks like an ideal replacement inside for Maliek Collins, who is joining the Raiders after playing the three-technique position in Dallas for the better part of four seasons.
Proximity also factored heavily into McCoy's decision. He said his son will be attending OU next season, and other family and friends will be close by, too.
From a football perspective, the 32-year-old believes the Cowboys can be contenders despite last year's 8-8 finish. He's a "huge fan" of new head coach Mike McCarthy, who coached him at past Pro Bowls. And he has developed a friendship with defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence since the 2017 all-star game.
"That was before he signed his big contract, but he had a great season and then followed it up with an even better season," McCoy said. "It's been great to watch his progress and the great player he's become."
"They have so much talent on the team. Unfortunately, they couldn't put it together last year, but every year is different and I truly believe they have all the pieces necessary."