As all other NFL teams did today, the Cowboys made several cuts and other moves to meet the 53-man roster limit. Some of the players currently on the team, though, shouldn’t feel safe just yet.
Dallas will no doubt be actively pursuing some new talent from other team’s waivers. Not only that, but they may look at adding some veteran talent after Week One so that they don’t have to fully guarantee the contract.
With the dust not yet settled, here are five current Cowboys that should be prepared for a sudden shift in fortune:
Jameil Showers, QB
This one is obvious given the report that Mark Sanchez is already headed to Dallas. The signing is not yet official but all signs point to it.
The roster spot for Sanchez could come from Tony Romo being placed on Injured Reserve. However, Dallas could elect to just run with Dak Prescott and Sanchez on the active roster. Showers would likely head back to the practice squad.
I still say that Dallas will be hesitant to pull the trigger on Romo, eliminating any chance he could come back prior to Week 9. That means Showers will likely be released to make room for Sanchez, given that it would be highly unlikely Dallas would carry four quarterbacks on the roster.
J.J. Wilcox, S
The biggest surprise of all today was not who got released but that Wilcox did not. However, that may be a temporary issue.
Dallas seems to have all bases covered at safety. Byron Jones and Barry Church are starting. Jeff Heath is the experienced backup and special teams ace. Kavon Frazier is the rookie in development.
The Cowboys will get back $1.67 million in cap space by cutting Wilcox. If they need a roster spot to add a new defensive end, quarterback, or some other position then he seems like one of the easiest cuts they have.
Rod Smith, RB/FB
Having missed some time with an injection issue, Rod Smith may not have had a fair shake at earning the fullback position over Keith Smith. Both are still on the roster right now and the competition could be continuing through the next few weeks.
Rod has an edge over Keith in terms of offensive versatility. He can also play running back and has more experience as a receiver. However, Keith is the better blocker right now and also gives you special teams play and an emergency linebacker.
Damien Wilson, LB
Dallas showed by cutting defensive end Ryan Russell that they aren’t going to be overly patient with recent draft picks. Russell was the fifth-round pick in 2015. Damien Wilson was taken in the fourth round.
Wilson appears to be the low man of the Cowboys linebackers. He is inexperienced and has yet to flash the same potential as Anthony Hitchens or Mark Nzeocha. With fullback Keith Smith able to play some linebacker, Wilson could be a goner if Dallas needs a roster spot somewhere else.
Lance Dunbar, RB
Dallas not only kept Rod Smith and Darius Jackson but also moved Darren McFadden to the Non-Football Injury list. That means a lot of RB talent is hanging around and could jeopardize Dunbar’s security.
Dallas also may not want for Dunbar, now a vested veteran, to be one the Week One roster. It means his contract become fully guaranteed and would make it more expensive to release him if they want to make room for McFadden later.
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Surviving the last two cut-down days is great but it’s not always the end of the story. Dallas should be in the market for defensive end help and perhaps also a veteran offensive tackle. Those roster spots likely will come from other positions.
A lot could happen in the next few days as the Cowboys continue to tweak the roster and get ready for next Sunday’s season opener. We’ll see if these players are still here when the New York Giants come to town.