Teams around the NFL had to cut 37 players following the conclusion of the fourth and final preseason game in order to get into the league mandated 53-man limit. There’ll be a lot of talk about how “final” rosters look ahead of the 2019 season, but we all know there is no such thing as a final roster. Each and every team will continue to make moves in the coming weeks and throughout the year to their rosters, and the Dallas Cowboys are no exception.
Don’t be the least bit surprised if the way the roster looks right now isn’t the way it looks in Week 1 against the New York Giants. For instance, Running Back Ezekiel Elliott isn’t currently on the roster right now, meaning if he returns before the Giants game a move will have to be made. This is true for nearly every position for the Dallas Cowboys.
With all of that in mind, I thought I would go position by position and provide a little breakdown of what I think the Dallas Cowboys brass could be thinking.
Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush
It’s no surprise the Dallas Cowboys just went with two QBs on their 53-man roster. The QB2 battle between Cooper Rush and Mike White never materialized, making No. 7 Prescott’s backup for now in 2019. The Cowboys could be on the lookout for a more proven veteran, maybe Brian Hoyer, but they good just as likely stick with status quo.
Running Back (3)
Tony Pollard, Alfred Morris, Jamize Olawale
Carrying just two traditional running backs on the 53-man roster would suggest that a contract agreement between Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys is close to happening. But when/if it does Dallas will need to cut someone in order to add Zeke to the roster. That could mean Alfred Morris’ spot is in jeopardy. He is not likely to see many touches behind Pollard and No. 21 and he doesn’t play special teams. That’s not exactly what Dallas looks for in a RB3.
Wide Receiver (5)
Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, Tavon Austin, Devin Smith
There were questions about how many WRs the Dallas Cowboys would choose to carry on the 53-man roster, five or six, but you can’t really argue with who they chose to keep. The top four in the Cooper, Gallup, Cobb, and Austin were pretty obvious, but deciding who to keep between Devin Smith and Cedrick Wilson was a tossup. It couldn’t have been an easy decision, but Smith edged out Wilson, who was released. Luckily, No. 16 cleared waivers and was brought back to the practice squad.
Tight End (3)
Jason Witten, Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz
No real surprises here. The only real question about the position is the health of Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz for the season opener against the Giants. Both players are banged up right now, but should be able to contribute behind future Hall of Famer Jason Witten when things kick off Week 1 in the regular season.
Offensive Line (11)
The Dallas Cowboys surprisingly went really heavy on the offensive line, but don’t expect that to last very long. Rookie Connor McGovern looks to be headed to injured Reserrve (IR) after his latest setback with his pictorial injury and one of the three between Looney, Su’a-Filo, and Redmond could get traded. The biggest surprise though was the decision to keep Brandon Knight. They must not have thought they could slip him through waivers.
Defensive Line (10)
DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, Tyrone Crawford, Taco Charlton, Kerry Hyder, Joe Jackson, Antwaun Woods, Maliek Collins, Trysten Hill, Christian Covington
Having to release talented rookies like Daniel Wise and Jalen Jelks is a testament to the talent and depth the Dallas Cowboys had along their defensive line this offseason. Wise luckily cleared waivers and was brought back to the practice squad, but it was risk to release him to begin with. The rest of the players they decided to keep along the DL isn’t all that surprising. It’s a talented group and that’s without Robert Quinn or Randy Gregory, meaning another roster move will need to be made eventually.
Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, Sean Lee, Joe Thomas, Justin March, Luke Gifford
The Dallas Cowboys top four (Smith, LVE, Lee, and Thomas) were all no-brainers and provide tremendous depth for the Dallas Cowboys heading into the 2019 season. Justin March stuck around due to his veteran experience and special teams ability and Luke Gifford edged out fellow undrafted free agent Justin Phillips and second-year LB Chris Covington to stick to the roster. The latter, Covington, was brought back on the practice squad.
Byron Jones, Chibode Awuzie, Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, C.J. Goodwin
The only real surprise about the quarterback position is the fact the Dallas Cowboys chose to part ways with Mike Jackson and Donovan Olumba to keep C.J. Goodwin instead. Jackson and Olumba both have more upside as CBs, but Goodwin should end up being the Cowboys special teams ace in 2019. Jackson and Olumba have both cleared waivers and have been added back on the practice squad.
Xavier Woods, Jeff Heath, Donovan Wilson, Kavon Frazier, Darian Thompson
Deciding to go deep at the safety position could be the biggest surprise about the Dallas Cowboys 53-man roster after making cuts. If Donovan Wilson and Darian Thompson weren’t banged up I kind of doubt Frazier would’ve made the cut, but since both could miss a game or two with their injuries he sticks around for now. Don’t be surprised if we see this position see some changes though. Dallas could be watching the waiver wire very closely for a potential upgrade.
Special Teams (3)
Brett Maher, Chris Jones, L.P. Ladouceur
Honestly, there are no real surprises here whatsoever. There was some speculation Kasey Redfern could stick around at the expense of Chris Jones due to his versatility to handle the punting responsibilities as well as being an emergency placekicker, but that was clearly just hearsay. The Cowboys however could have their eyes on potential kicking replacements. Maher could be on a short lease, even though he’s been kicking better as of late.