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Cowboys 2020 Roster Cuts: Recap of Yesterday’s Moves & More to Come

Earlier than expected, the Dallas Cowboys got to work yesterday trimming their 2020 roster down to 53 players. Let’s do a quick recap of the seven players they parted with and then look ahead to the 20 other moves needed before Saturday’s cut-down deadline.

Wednesday’s roster moves were as follows:

  • Released
    • WR Devin Smith
    • OL Adam Redmond
  • Waived
    • QB Clayton Thorson
    • TE Charlie Taumoepeau
    • OT Pace Murphy
  • Waived/Injured
    • OT Mitch Hyatt
    • OT Wyatt Miller

Redmond and Smith were easily the biggest surprises of the group and even they weren’t all that shocking. Some had them making the team at the bottom of their respective depth charts, but there plenty of projections out there that didn’t include one or both players.

In case you’re wondering, the difference between being “released” or “waived” has to do with a player’s years of NFL service. Once you become a vested veteran after four years, you aren’t subject to the waiver system until late into the regular season. That means Redmond and Smith immediately became unrestricted free agents upon release.

Dallas has five other players currently in the waiver system. Three of them will become free agents if they go unclaimed; QB Clayton Thorson, TE Charlie Taumoepeau, and OT Pace Murphy.

Offensive Tackles Mitch Hyatt and Wyatt Miller were waived/injured, meaning other teams can claim them but they will move to the Cowboys’ injured reserve list if nobody does.

None of these waived players were projected to make Dallas’ roster in 2020.

So what other moves could be coming?  The Cowboys are having a final padded practice this morning and could perhaps start making more cuts as soon as this afternoon.

Cowboys RBs Darius Anderson, Rico Dowdle, & Sewo Olonilua

These remaining moves will answer a lot of questions that have stuck with us throughout training camp. Not only have we been unable to see much of these players without preseason games, but this new coaching staff may have different views on how to build a team from the last one.

For example, we don’t know yet if Mike McCarthy prioritizes keeping a third QB on the roster more than Jason Garrett did. While his time is Green Bay does tell us something, perhaps McCarthy’s views have changed during his year off. What will that mean for Ben DiNucci as far as making the 53 or moving to the practice squad?

Last year at running back we saw Dallas go with just Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard on the depth chart. Do prospects Darius Anderson, Rico Dowdle, and Sewo Olonilua even have a shot at making the 53 in 2020, or will the Cowboys stick to that same philosophy?

In addition to general clarity, are there any true surprises coming in these final cuts?

  • Has veteran safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix been unimpressive enough to not only lose his starting job but even fail to make the team in a backup role?
  • Could we see last year’s LB darling, Luke Gifford, lose his spot to a shinier new toy in Francis Bernard?
  • Could Dallas potentially trade any players, such as CB Jourdan Lewis or DE Dorance Armstrong, rather than leave them buried on the depth chart?
  • For that matter, could the Cowboys make any trades to acquire talent? Hopefully it goes better than the Charvarius Ward-Parker Ehinger did a few years ago.

We can expect plenty of news and perhaps a surprise or two over the next two days as the Dallas Cowboys finish this unique training camp and build their roster for the 2020 season.

What do you think?

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Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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  1. So was the Rondell Carter signing a waste? Never heard anything about him. I presume he hasn’t been able to eclipse Joe Jackson and will be earmarked for the practice squad … or has he been that bad?

  2. With the shortened camp the coaching staff simply did not have the time or luxury to properly evaluate fringe players like Carter and others. What time we do have for an evaluation process is used determining who starts and and who backs up the starters. No preseason games also took away opportunities for players to showcase themselves in live games. But yea odd no mention of Carter at all.

    • Because of the commitments they made to both (Carter getting a large contract by UDFA standards, and Jaskson in draft capital and time), they would probably hope to sneak both onto the practice squad (if neither is a surprise roster choice) but they wouldn’t likely protect them both. They should have both gotten enough opportunities to showcase themselves in practice to a veteran staff.

  3. That’s not really a big hit to take for either or both, and doubt that’s a big factor whether to retain them. I think for players like Carter or bubble guys, u absolutely wanna seem them in a game (even preseason) to properly evaluate them. That’s how the back end of a roster is generally determined. Only so much u can know watching them run around in practice and do drills. Can they perform in an actual game. Sucked for everyone to not even have one preseason game. Could see some sloppy games to start the season.
    .

    • I disagree with that sentiment. One could say that’s the only reason Gifford was retained last year, because he had decent game or two … yet he’s done nothing to prove that as a valuable move. Someone who might have out-developed him by now could still be here. Yes, you want to see them in games, but their college tapes are all games … there is evidence of their abilities, and an experienced staff can indeed make an assessment via practice. So we’ll just disagree on that one …

  4. Indeed we will. Although it is a valuable tool, it’s often times difficult to evaluate whether one’s college tape/skill set translates into NFL level production, especially with say small school prospects. Hard to believe that all these coaches, given the opportunity wouldn’t have much rather seen some of these guys in a game setting vs not. They absolutely use that as a valuable evaluation tool. No substitute for showing what u can do in a game, even if it is a preseason.

  5. I’m not suggesting game play doesn’t have value … nor hinting at such. I’m saying the lack of game play isn’t that big a concern to me because I find it quite easy and comfortable to trust the eyes of this staff. Truth be told, there has long been a movement to eliminate preseason games altogether … and that’s a movement that coaches/evaluators have been on board with.

  6. Well I know the players have always wanted less preseason games, due to wear and tear and more chance for injury. The unnecessary 4 games was merely a revenue stream for the owners. I couid be wrong but I think the current CBA allows the teams to move to 17 games in 2021? So that takes it up from 14 (in my day) to 17. Guess it balances out. Still would like to see 1-2 PS games to evaluate roster, and give the starters some meaningful reps against actual competition, and bet the coaches would too. With this short Tr C especially we could see a shoddy product on the field, at least initially.

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