For two seasons, Daniel Ross has been a solid reserve at defensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys. They thought enough of Ross to re-sign him this offseason, but other additions at DT may have stolen Ross’ roster spot. Is there anything Daniel can do to fight his way back on the 53?
In late 2017, Dallas signed Ross off the Chiefs’ practice squad due to injuries at defensive tackle. He was active in three games and recorded one sack as a backup. Daniel returned last year and was active in 13 games, again recording a single sack in his limited playing time.
With only two accrued seasons in the NFL, Ross was an Exclusive Rights Free Agent this past offseason. Daniel would be unable to negotiate with other teams unless Dallas waived his rights, but the Cowboys brought Ross back on a one-year deal before free agency even opened.
Unfortunately for Ross, though, the Cowboys also signed veteran Christian Covington to play DT for them this year. They then spent their 2nd-round pick on Trysten Hill.
With those players joining Tyrone Crawford, Maliek Collins, and Antwaun Woods in the interior defensive line, it’s hard to see a spot for Daniel Ross going forward.
The Cowboys are unlikely to keep more than five defensive tackles. To make the team, Daniel Ross is probably going to have to beat Christian Covington for that last spot on the depth chart.
Covington feels like a sure thing, though. Dallas signed him to a one-year, $2.5 million deal to convert to DT after playing four years as a 3-4 end in Houston. They must feel pretty good about his potential with that kind of salary.
One other avenue for Ross to make the team would be Dallas either trading or releasing Tyrone Crawford, which seems unlikely but isn’t unrealistic. Crawford’s versatility isn’t as valuable now that Robert Quinn and Kerry Hyder have joined the DE ranks.
The Cowboys could still decide they want to save $7 million in cap space by moving on from Crawford. If so, having a solid guy like Ross to fill out the DT position is added motivation.
Even if Daniel can’t make it onto the 53-man roster he’s still eligible for the practice squad. But even that won’t be a sure thing; undrafted free agents Daniel Wise and Ricky Walker are younger and should be competitive.
Since going undrafted in 2017, Daniel Ross has had stops with four different NFL clubs. Will he be able to stick around in Dallas, or will he be looking for a fifth team after final cuts? He has the talent to play in the league, but the Cowboys just may not have an opening for him in 2019.