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Cowboys 2016 Roster Cuts: 4 Most Surprising Moves

Sean Martin



Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys 2016 Roster Cuts: 4 Most Surprising Moves 1

The Dallas Cowboys have made their final cuts down to the 53 players that will represent America's Team against the New York Giants in eight days. Some surprising names did not make it past final cuts, which you can track right here.

The Cowboys do have a high priority on the waiver wire at fourth overall, so there is still a chance to replace this outgoing talent with fresh bodies. For now, here are the four names that jumped out to me when the Cowboys announced their cuts.

TE Rico Gathers

The Cowboys had four picks in the sixth round of the 2016 draft, and used one such pick to take a chance on Baylor University basketball star Rico Gathers. Gathers, with his immense size and talent-ceiling, instantly became a fan favorite player to watch throughout training camp.

In Oxnard, Gathers did not do much to develop in his first organized football action since high school, and only made his presence felt in the final preseason game on Thursday against the Texans.

Dallas' situation at tight end was going to be an interesting one after the injury to James Hanna, and they decided to go short in replacing their primary blocking tight end by moving on from Gathers along with Austin Traylor.

Gathers would be eligible for the Cowboys' practice squad if no other team claims him off of waivers.

TE Austin Traylor

Speaking of Traylor, the roster long shot upon his signing out of Wisconsin actually played well as a potential replacement to Hanna as a physical blocker.

Ultimately, the Cowboys' decision to hold onto two fullbacks - and core special teams players - in Rod Smith and Keith Smith forced them to move on from a player with as limited of a role as Traylor.

Geoff Swaim, a favorite target of Dak Prescott this preseason, will be asked to take on a larger role as a pass catcher as well as a blocker now.


Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys 2016 Roster Cuts: 4 Most Surprising Moves

Sep 1, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Brandon Weeden (5) is hit by Dallas Cowboys defensive end Mike McAdoo (66) as he throws a touchdown pass in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

DE Mike McAdoo

It would be hard to find another team in the NFL with a worse situation at defensive end than the Cowboys. Still, the team has moved on from two edge rushers in the past two days, starting with Ryan Russell.

McAdoo, while incredibly raw, was speculated as a LDE replacement for Russell until DeMarcus Lawrence returns from his four game suspension. Now, Dallas will likely rely on David Irving while keeping a close eye on the waiver wire.

I'll be hoping for rookie defensive end Tyrone Holmes, a recently released sixth round pick from the Jaguars, to end up in the silver and blue prior to week 1.

CB Deji Olatoye

Ever since seeing significant playing time near the end of the 2015 season, Deji Olatoye has been one of my "pet cat" players in the Dallas secondary. His struggles against the Texans in the final preseason game ultimately cost Deji his spot on the team, but prior to that Olatoye presented a desirable combination of cover ability and physical size that made him a roster lock for some.

Isaiah Frey was also released by the team, who may have been able to offer more versatility to Rod Marinelli's defense as both a corner and a safety. Instead, Dax Swanson has played his way onto the roster as a corner back and punt return option with virtually no experience at safety.

What other players' departures from Dallas have you surprised? Let us know! Comment below to discuss any of these players or more, or email

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys 2016 Roster Cuts: 4 Most Surprising Moves" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Pleasant NJ, no we're not how you think we are. Host of "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL.

Player News

Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign Linebacker Kyle Wilber

A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.


The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber:

Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.

Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.

The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.

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Player News

Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick

Kevin Brady



Orlando Scandrick

After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.

Josina Anderson on Twitter

I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.

This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.

Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.

In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.

Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line

Jess Haynie



Dallas Cowboys Have Big Hole on Offensive Line
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

There are a lot of positions being talked about right now for the Dallas Cowboys. Upgrades are needed at several spots, but one critical position needs even more than that. Left guard is completely unmanned, and that could be a big problem for the 2018 offensive line if it's not addressed soon.

Last year's starter, Jonathan Cooper, is currently an unrestricted free agent. So are backups Joe Looney and Byron Bell.

Right now, Chaz Green is the only other non-starter under contract who has any NFL experience at left guard. Nobody wants to see him on the field next year.

Dez Bryant may be a big topic but at least he's under contract. The same goes for safety, where we at least have options to turn to if free agency or the draft don't yield anything.

Left guard, though? The cupboard is bare.

La'el Collins' Position Flex Could Come in Handy for Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys OT La'el Collins

One option could be to move La'el Collins back to guard, where many feel he has the most upside, and then find a new right tackle. But that would be changing two positions to fill one hole, and Collins was playing well at tackle by the end of the year.

And obviously, we don't want to see Chaz Green playing that spot either. Or any spot. Ever.

No, at this point it makes sense for Dallas to leave Collins where he is and either sign or draft a starting LG. The question is how much do they want to invest?

The Cowboys are already shelling out big bucks to Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. Even Collins counts about $7 million against the cap. They have three first-round picks already tied up in the offensive line.

Some thought veteran free agent Josh Sitton would be a nice option, but he got picked up by the Dolphins today for about $8-9 million per year. That's more than Dallas can afford given their limited cap space and other needs.

No, the LG in 2018 is going to need to be a salary cap bargain. That means either re-signing Jonathan Cooper or Joe Looney on the cheap, or perhaps paying a rookie salary to a high draft pick.

Last year's 19th overall pick, O.J. Howard, counted just $2 million against the Bucs' salary cap in 2017.

There are some older veterans who could be cheap band-aid options, such as Matt Slauson or Evan Smith. But you don't get very far down some lists of available guards before you see Jonathan Cooper's name, and continuity is always a plus.

The point here is don't expect any big move, even with the enormity of the need. Dallas will likely reach an agreement with Cooper after he's tested the free agent waters a bit, assuming nobody else scoops him up.

If not, the need at left guard will become increasingly dire the further we get into the offseason.

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