Cowboys News App [Android]

Cowboys 2021 Free Agency: New Arrivals Aren’t Guaranteed Roster Spots

When we're doing our roster projections for upcoming seasons, we tend to assume that newly-signed are going to make the team. But recent examples have proven, at least when it comes to the , that being a fresh face in doesn't always mean you're going to make it past final cuts.

Just last year, Dallas signed veteran and it was assumed that he would take over as a starting . After all, he had with from Green Bay as was a former Pro Bowler.

But sure enough, Ha Ha didn't even stick around as a backup. Dallas cut him after the in favor of and , not even realizing what they had yet in .

We also saw this in 2015 with , a veteran who was expected to at least be a primary backup if not a contender for a starting role. Despite having $2 million in guaranteed money on his contract, Brinkley didn't even make the .

Ha Ha and Jasper's very brief tenures in Dallas should be a warning to , , Jayron Kearse, and others who signed deals with the Cowboys this . Nothing is promised when it comes to making the 53-man roster.

Newly-signed Cowboys: OT Ty Nseke, DE Tarell Basham, & S Jayron Kearse

Consider some of their situations. Nsekhe turns 36 in October and has , , and now rookie Josh Ball as much younger options at offensive . Unless Nsekhe is considerably better than any of them, why would Dallas go with a geriatric band-aid over a prospect with some upside and a cheaper contract?

Tarell Basham was signed to bring some at but doesn't have any great track record of productivity; only 3.5 as a season-high thus far. Who's to say the 27-year-old will be any more deserving of a roster spot than Dorance Armstrong, , or rookie Chauncey Golston once the cut deadline comes?

Also 27, Jayron Kearse got a minimal deal to bring some depth at safety and help the . But with Reggie Robinson and rookie Israel Mukuamu in the mix, Dallas could again decide to develop its younger players and not use a valuable roster spot on a journeyman like Kearse.

Money is a key issue for some of these players. Dallas can save around $1 million in cap space on each of Nsekhe and Kearse's deals by releasing them. They have to outplay the competition to keep their jobs; there's far less financial incentive with some of the younger talent's contracts.

Basham is a bit more protected by finances; Dallas would get no cap relief from cutting him in 2021 and would eat $2.5 million in dead money. But as we saw with Jasper Brinkley, sometimes the team is willing to do that if they feel like they have better options and can afford the cap consequence.

These aren't the only free agents we can talk about in this discussion. Frankly, any of , , , Damontae Kazee, and others are all on this table. Nobody got the kind of guaranteed money or lucrative contract which says they're completely safe.

All of these free agents could very well make the roster. After all, they're the handpicked players of a relatively new which is still reshaping the team.

But as we saw with Clinton-Dix last year, being new doesn't necessarily mean anything. Even past accomplishments and relationships with coaches may not be enough.

For all of these 2021 free agents, the work of making the Dallas Cowboys' roster is far from over.

Jess Haynie
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!

COntinue Reading


Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

> Join our team...

-- COWBOYS ANDROID APP --Free Dallas Cowboys News App for Android