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Cowboys Need to Cut 5 Players by Tuesday; Who Might They Be?

The will need to make five roster moves by 4:00pm on Tuesday to meet the first cutdown deadline of the 2021 . Based on what we know today, who might soon be asked to go get their playbook?

As we broke down for you a few weeks ago, the cut days for 2021 are different from past seasons. By 4:00 pm EST this Tuesday, all NFL teams must reduce their rosters down from 90 to 85 players. A week later it's 80 players, and then the final cuts to 53 have to be made by August 31st.

With two weeks left in preseason these early cuts are going to be heavily influenced by having enough bodies to facilitate games and practices. While merit will certainly be a factor, the numbers game throughout the roster will probably be a bigger one.

This is especially true given what we saw during Friday night's preseason game. Down went , , and to varying degrees of , perhaps keeping an extra DT, TE, or OT on the roster a little longer than the team might have originally expected.

Keep in mind that reducing the roster size isn't just through cuts. The Cowboys could place a qualifying player on , but doing so now would make that player ineligible to return at any point in 2021. A player has to go through final cuts and make the 53, then go on IR, if you want to bring him back during the season.

With all that said, here are the five roster moves I think might happen between now and Tuesday:

1. TE Sean McKeon placed on IR

McKeon suffered a high ankle sprain on Friday and could be out 4-6 weeks. More of a receiver than a blocker, the second-year TE might not get on the field much this year if both and stay healthy.

Dallas can stash McKeon on IR for 2021 to protect the asset for next year, when he just might be TE2 if Schultz leaves in or Jarwin is made a cap casualty. While we never root for injury for anyone, this opportunity may actually be in the Cowboys' favor given other roster needs.

Veteran is already here to fill the TE as a blocker, taking over 's role from last season. This is a more ideal use of that TE3 spot and would then allow Dallas to devote a roster spot to another position.

2. FB Sewo Olonilua placed on IR

After injuring his neck in the , Olonilua was reportedly “out for a while” but the team hasn't made a move yet. We don't even know if they intend to keep a at all this season after having not done so in 2020.

However, the other fullback contender Nick Ralston was one of the standouts on Friday night both with some run blocking and on . With another viable FB option to turn to, Dallas could put Sewo on IR and avoid having to cut a player elsewhere.

3. LB Anthony Hines placed on IR

Hines suffered an injury to his upper arm on Friday night and had to be carted to the locker room. While the full extent of the injury it not yet known, the UDFA was not projected to make the 53 and probably wouldn't be much use to the team for the next two weeks.

That said, Dallas is already missing as LB depth with a hamstring issue. With Hines also gone now the Cowboys may have to look into adding someone at LB just to make it through the rest of August.

4. One of the WR prospects released

I'm not going to pretend that I know how these coaches feel about versus Brennan Eagles and 2-3 other receivers currently in camp. We've seen more of Reggie Davis, Malik Turner, and a couple others in the preseason games, but those are a limited window compared to all the unseen things from practices and meetings.

One thing that is clear, though, is that we have an abundance of WR prospects and room to cut at least one of them. I could easily see two cuts here given the numbers, but I'm going to go another way for the fifth roster move.

5. CB Kyron Brown released

A late addition to the roster, Brown hasn't made any noteworthy waves over the last few weeks. With nine other cornerbacks already vying for roster spots, this seems like one of the easier moves unless the coaches have seen things we've yet to hear about.

~ ~ ~

Of course, these are just deductions based on the limited evidence we have to go by. Dallas may not want to close the door on McKeon, Olonilua, or Hines yet if they think the aren't going to keep them out long. Or they may have soured on guys at other positions.

Also, remember that five moves are only the minimum needed to satisfy the NFL's requirement. If the Cowboys do want to add another LB or swap some guys out based on other team's cuts, the changes over the next few days may be a little heavier as the bottom of the roster gets churned.

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!

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I like the IR stashes.

I wonder how bad Ty Nsekhe’s knee injury is? His performance was sub-par even before the injury. It may be time to find a different veteran solution there.

Kyron had a couple of good plays in the HOF game. Deante Burton has blown coverages and mistakes on ST’s in both games. He’s also a several time retread and 2 years older than Kyron. Neither will make the final 53, so I guess it really doesn’t matter which goes now and which goes later. Personally, I’d rather see more of Kyron Brown in the next two games.

Agreed, one or more of Guidry, Vasher, Eagles, or Parker should and will go from the WR room.


agreed with all the mentioned IR moves,,,and gregory out again, and he’s bitchin bout playing time,,that spagoli can’t even stay on the field and his wants a long term deal??? yea okay, and nobody mentioned how bad #9 looked against backups,,that dude needs to be released already, keep the three young backers along with parson and cox,,thank god they look like they belong!!

reggie payton

ben danucci and cooper rush are not nfl quarterbacks


Agree on #9 (don’t even want to say his name ) he looks slow and the season hasn’t even started yet, I’m ready to move on at this point but knowing Jerry’s EGO will cloud his judgment and he’ll keep him just to try and prove that he was right to pay #9 early

gary b

Regarding #9 many have suggested that it was the poor schemes of Nolan that contributed to his poor season. But from what I’ve seen of him in preseason, he looks as slow as ever. If he is coming in a straight line down hill he can take on blockers and make tackles, but if he has to move laterally down the line or heaven forbid get out in space forget about it. Really not looking forward to seeing that #9 trailing plays and making tackles 20 yards downfield all season. Our two top LBs are Parsons and LVE. After that I like Kearse over Smith, though doubtful Jerry will let his big investment ride the pine.

gary b

I have also been pleasantly surprised by j Cox. He is flying to the ball and making alot of open field tackles which wasn’t supposed to be his strong suit necessarily. I wanna see these young LBs and CBs turned loose. They are the future, let them get out there and make plays. There will be mistakes initially but that’s how u learn. Tired of seeing all these old retreads not giving us anything on defense.

Darrell Guidry

Think Dallas needs better DT, there are vets that can come in and fill Gallimore spot while he is on IR also #9Smith is out there trying no to get hurt it is Pre-season you don’t see DLaw out there and #9 has had better stats than him the last 3 years.


DLaw will never show he deserved the big contract. Let Anae play, an Ron Del play. Let Smith go should have done it in June. Cut Hill how many more years we gonna wait on him. Gregory playing for a contract then will disappear like Lawrence. Leave Connor W at guard he will be a little better than average. Tyron will miss some games this year time to get the next left tackle. These are hard decisions to make an feelings an egos will be stepped on. Jimmy J would be doing this a hell luv a lot different an we would be competing. Just my 50 cents will get you a cup of coffee no a buck at mickey D’s .. Character makes champions!

Ali Zainulabideen

I like all of the IR stashes exept for Sean MecKeon I would keep him. BendiNucci should be a cut . Carlos Watkins would be a god cut regaing some cap

Pete Panagiotopoulos

This stuff cracks me up! How many years are we gonna wait on Trysten Hill? Listen he came out as a junior and he wasn’t ready to contribute which is normal. Last year he did some good and bad things in the few games he played. Cutting him now would be ridiculously stupid move on the Cowboys part. Dallas also hates giving up on draft picks which is why Trysten won’t be cut! I agree that Jaylon just going through the motions and not trying to get hurt in preseason. Cowboys fans really have a hair across their ass for anything Jaylon does wrong, LVE has a missed tackle rate of 16% his last 2 years while Jaylon’s is less than half that. LVE also has given up an 82% completion percentage in his three years in the league. That’s one of if not the worst of all-time for a LB who’s started multiple seasons.

Dave SC58

Actually, the Cowboys could cut 5 wide receivers right now and nobody would even notice! they have far too many guys in that group and only the top 8 have any chance of staying with the club in any capacity, whether it is the 53-Man roster, or the Practice Squad.

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