The log jam at the bottom of the wide receiver depth chart was one of the more interesting camp battles to watch as the Dallas Cowboys report to Oxnard this weekend. Yesterday, the Dallas Cowboys cleared that up a little when they released veteran Wide Receiver Allen Hurns after being cleared by team doctors.
Though he was slated to be fifth or sixth on the wide receiver depth chart, likely backing up both Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb, the Dallas Cowboys felt that they have players that can do what Hurns was bringing to the table and for a cheaper price.
Here's how the release of Allen Hurns will impact the Dallas Cowboys from both a salary cap and roster-building perspective.
Salary Cap Savings
By far the biggest impact that release of Allen Hurns will have is on the Dallas Cowboys salary cap. By releasing him, the Cowboys will save $5 million in cap space in 2019 while only accruing $1.25 million in dead money this year.
That money may not seem significant, but for a team that has attempted to manage their cap without having to restructure a lot of their contracts, that $5 million is significant. The release of Allen Hurns will now give the Dallas Cowboys around $24 million in cap space per OverTheCap.com, which could give them enough room — with some other corresponding restructures — to get Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Amari Cooper extended before training camp if they wish to do so.
As I mentioned before, the wide receiver depth chart is super intriguing. With Allen Hurns and his contract out of the way, the Dallas Cowboys will be choosing from Noah Brown, Cedrick Wilson, Jon'vea Johnson, Lance Lenoir, Jalen Guyton, Devin Smith, and Reggie Davis to fill the final two or three spots on the wide receiver depth chart.
If we assume that Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, and Tavon Austin are locks to make the roster, that only leaves two or three more spots for wide receivers to fill on the 53-man roster to start week one. With the depth at other positions, like offensive and defensive line, I don't expect the Dallas Cowboys to carry more than six wide receivers on the 53-man roster when the team breaks camp. That means seven wide receivers will be competing for just two roster spots.
Right now, my money would be on Noah Brown and Cedrick Wilson to fill those final two spots on the roster. Johnson and Guyton are intriguing UDFA prospects, but because the Cowboys have spent draft capital on Brown and Wilson, I imagine those spots are theirs to lose. Meaning the rest of those guys would have to seriously outplay Brown or Wilson for the Cowboys to not keep them on the 53-man roster. Brown doesn't have any practice squad eligibility left, so he's either on the team or he becomes a free agent.
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What happens over the rest of training camp will be fascinating to watch. The Dallas Cowboys will have the money to get extensions done if they choose to do so and the wide receiver battle just got more interesting. Allen Hurns' departure opens up more opportunities for one of the younger guys to make a name for himself in 2019.
Training camp is just a few days away and it can't get here fast enough.