Mike McCarthy Explains Wednesday's Controversial Release of Veteran Defender

Mike McCarthy spoke about the Dallas Cowboys' controversial decision to release veteran linebacker Rashaan Evans on Wednesday.
Nov 12, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA;  Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy during the game
Nov 12, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy during the game / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Update: According to reports, Rashaan Evans was arrested for maijuana possession, which preceded his release by the Cowboys. Our original story follows below.

The Dallas Cowboys decided to make some tweaks to their roster ahead of Week 17 that have raised a few eyebrowns. In order to active offensive tackle Matt Waletzko from the injured reserve list on Wednesday, Dallas elected to release veteran linebacker Rashaan Evans from the 53-man roster.

Considering how the team's LB depth is already in a dire spot right now, fans aren't happy this group has been thinned out even further.

Shortly after the news was announced, head coach Mike McCarthy addressed this controversial move.

McCarthy promised to say more on Evans specifically not working out "at the end of the week." He did tackle the release broadly, though, stating that when the staff "start[s] to project" roles for the playoffs, sometimes situations like this take place. The HC added the team thought the depth Waletzko provides would be "beneficial" for this final postseason push.

Suffice it to say, those in Big D still aren't happy with this decision. Waletzko is an inexperienced player with just three NFL appearances to his name since being drafted last year, and he's coming off of a major injury to boot, which means he'll have signifcant rust to shake off before being able to help.

Meanwhile, Evans is a six-year veteran who's started to settle in with the team after suiting up in nine games during the 2023 season. His playing time hasn't been particularly significant, with the vet seeing just 12% of the Cowboys' defensive snaps, but he's carved out a role as a legit special teams contributor (33% of all ST snaps played).

The benefit of having Evans on the roster also means he's available at a moment's notice to help out the linebacking group as well. Removing him from the equation entirely and replacing his roster spot with an offensive player clearly downgrades Dallas' LB depth.

This is a strange roster move to make with the playoffs looming, especially since Evans has already played in four postseason games in his career. Let's hope it doesn't come back to bite McCarthy and co.

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