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:
- WR Devin Smith
- OL Adam Redmond
- QB Clayton Thorson
- TE Charlie Taumoepeau
- OT Pace Murphy
- 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.
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.