Dallas Cowboys: Roster evaluation after cutdown day

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 24: Chris Jones /

The Dallas Cowboys have finally cut down their roster to 53 players and some of the releases were shocking, to say the least.

The Dallas Cowboys have finalized their 53 man roster and there were some surprising cuts. Most of the 53 man projections that were floating around did not include the release of several key veterans, tearing apart the running back unit, or keeping three quarterbacks on the roster.

However that is exactly what happened in what was a flurry of activity from the Cowboys front office and even with all of the moves being made the most talked about rumor of the offseason (cough Earl Thomas cough) has yet to become a reality. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting moves of final cut day.

Dan Bailey released:

Ok so this one was shocking to say the least. I know Dan Bailey has not been great in recent memory but he is still the most accurate Dallas Cowboys kicker of all time/the most accurate NFL kicker of all time. Now is he on the decline, some statistics suggest so, however most critics are not really sure. 

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If the Cowboys were planning on replacing Bailey then would they have looked harder at kickers in the draft or free agency and wouldn’t there be a competition? Well the most likely answer is that the Dallas Cowboys did not feel comfortable with Bailey entering the season and that could be because of combination of factors.

Physically Bailey seemed to be healthy once again but his mental state (about kicking) could have impacting the Cowboys decision. Brett Maher had a pretty impressive night against the Houston Texans hitting a 41 and 57 yard field goal while also punting the ball exceptionally well.

The Dallas Cowboys were faced with a situation were there could be more upside/confidence with Maher and since keeping two kickers is not a great use of a roster spot, the team released the player they thought would be more inconsistent. We saw a similar situation earlier in the offseason when the Cowboys released Dez Bryant.

The release probably had little to do with the contracts involved and a lot to do with the overall production of this football team. If the Dallas Cowboys can be more productive on special teams in the long run while saving some money it could turn out to be a wise move in the end.

Running back battle over:

One of the more interesting positional battles this preseason has been the fight for the third running back position, as it turns out, there is not a third running back at all. Only two backs made the roster (Ezekiel Elliott/Rod Smith) and a fullback. This is somewhat puzzling but the Dallas Cowboys must have thought the value of keeping three quarterbacks or four tight ends made more sense in the long run and they could be right.

Cutting Bo Scarbrough and Darius Jackson was surprising after how well they played during the preseason however we would later learn that both were headed to the practice squad. That is until the Green Bay Packers poached Jackson and brought him in. It truly appears that Ezekiel Elliott is in line for at least 300 plus carries this season.

Wide receiver spots finally solidified:

The Dallas Cowboys wide receiving corps was knocked down to six players during cut down day as most of the players who were expected to make the team were on the final 53. There was a bit of confusion as Deonte Thompson was released in favor of Noah Brown however Brown was placed on IR and would have been exposed to waivers if released.

This means the Cowboys wide receiving corps for 2018 will be Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson, Michael Gallup, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, and Tavon Austin. There weren’t any major cuts here that were a surprise even though Lance Lenoir did seem to do enough to crack the roster during preseason however a couple of bad punt/kick returns likely took him down a notch.

Defensive line cuts:

The Dallas Cowboys released several defensive standouts this offseason (Caraun Reid, Jihad Ward, and Lewis Neal) and Charles Tapper who could not seem to stay healthy. Ward, a defensive tackle the team traded for during the 2017 NFL Draft, had a productive beginning of camp but failed to capitalize on any momentum he had gained.

Tapper’s release is as frustrating as it is understandable, he is incredibly talented however he cannot seem to escape injury. Neal and Reid both played very well (Reid especially during the final preseason game) however neither players performance was good enough for a roster spot.

The release of Chaz Green:

The Dallas Cowboys saw the addition of two offensive linemen (Parker Ehinger and Adam Redmond) but also saw the release of former third round pick Chaz Green, solidifying his status as a bust. Ehinger would be a starter if not for an ACL tear he suffered a few seasons back. He was set to crack the Kansas City Chiefs starting lineup prior to being traded. Redmond is a more raw prospect than Ehinger however he has a lot of characteristics the coaching staff like in their offensive linemen.

I would expect him to be the quality depth addition that the Dallas Cowboys needed in the wake of the Travis Frederick situation. Speaking of that, the Cowboys have yet to place Frederick on IR even though most estimates seem to show him not being on the field for most of the season. Saving a roster spot for Frederick implies that the situation is more hopeful than previously thought.

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It appears as if the Dallas Cowboys have created room for a player to be added via a trade however which position/player that is has not yet been made clear. Expect the front office moves to continue well into the first quarter of the season.

  • Published on 09/03/2018 at 22:38 PM
  • Last updated at 09/03/2018 at 22:38 PM