The current 75-man roster and where the final cut-down decisions are likely to be made

Most people try a 53-man roster projection. I'm going to go at it the other way, by listing the guys available right now on the 75-man roster. The first number after the position group is the current number of players on the roster. The number in parentheses afterward is what I think we'll end up with. The difference counts toward the 22 cuts they need to make to get down to 53.

I'm also going to give guys on the bubble a 1-5 rating -- 1 gives them a good chance of staying, 5 means they are certain to be cut. My 53 are in bold.


QB 3 (2) -- Romo, Orton, locks. Tanney (3), likely cut. (PS).

RB 5 (4) -- Murray, Dunbar, Tanner, Randle locks. Lawrence (5) a certain cut. (PS)

TE 5 (4) -- Witten, Hanna, Escobar, Rosario locks. Smith (5) a certain cut. (Don't know if he's PS eligible.)

WR 8 (6) -- Dez, Austin, Williams, Harris are locks. Beasley (1) is probably a lock. Armstrong (2) is fighting to be the 52nd or 53rd guy. Coale (5) and Benford (5) are possible PS guys.

OL 14 (9) -- Smith, Leary, Frederick, Bernardeau, Free, Arkin, Costa, Parnell are locks. Livings is either IR-return or just IR. Kowalski (2) is the 9th guy right now, and will stick unless Dallas signs someone else. Weems (4) and Coughman (5) seem to be PS candidates. Bell (4) could make it as an extra tackle, but I'm guessing they don't want to guarantee his salary and will thus keep him off the roster for game 1 at least. Dominguez (5) is out.

That would be 25 offensive guys, with 10 guys facing cuts -- Tanney, Lawrence, Smith, Coale, Benford, Livings, Weems, Coughman, Dominguez, and Bell. Of these, Tanney has the best chance of staying, and with Bell third. Of the guys I've picked to stay, Armstrong is the one most at risk.


DL 13 (8) -- Ware, Spencer, Hatcher, Hayden, Selvie, Bass, Wilber locks. Lissemore (1) has a multi-year contract, and is nearly a lock, despite not doing much in the 4-3. Landon Cohen (3) is Lissemore's prime competition, and he may also make it now that Ratliff is on PUP. Jabari Fletcher (5) and Thaddeus Gibson (5) haven't done enough and are certain cuts. I thought Jerome Long (5) was already cut and Jason Vega (5) was just signed, so I don't see them making it.

LB 9 (6) -- Lee, Carter, Durant, Holloman, Sims, locks. Magee (2) and McSurdy (3) fighting it out for 6th slot, or to keep an extra linebacker. Magee is hurt right now, but when he was healthy he led the team in tackles during the earlly preseason games, so I would rate him slightly ahead of McSurdy. Lawrence (5) and Reed (5) look like PS candidates.

CB 7 (5) -- Carr, Claiborne, Scandrick, Webb, Moore locks. Micah Pellerin (4) is supposedly battling with Moore for the fifth slot, except that he's listed more as a safety, and Moore has big game experience. I thought Xavier Brewer (5) was already cut.

S 8 (6) -- Allen, Church, Wilcox locks. Johnson (2), Heath (1), Frampton (3), McCray (3) battling for 2-3 slots. This looks like the tightest battle left on the roster. Hamilton (5) still around, but looks like a PS candidate. I have a post on why I think Dallas shouldn't give up yet on Matt Johnson. Of the guys on the bubble, he's the ONLY one who's likely to become an NFL starter (when he gets and stays healthy) at a position where Dallas is going to need one after the one-year deal with Will Allen is over. Because Heath is healthy and has been playing special teams, I think he'll stay. If the Cowboys keep 6, it's down to Frampton and McCray. Frampton's been in the league longer, and yet is much cheaper, and can play safety. McCray is a special teams guy only, at a cost of $1.3 million. If I were Dallas I'd try trading McCray to a team that is too good to claim him but needs a special teams ace. Failing that, I might cut him, but I think it's too close to call between him and Frampton.

That's 25 guys, with 12 guys facing cuts -- Cohen, Fletcher, Gibson, McSurdy, Lawrence, Reed, Pellerin, Hamilton, and McCray, Long, Vega, and Brewer. Of these, McCray, McSurdy, and Cohen have the best chance of sticking, with Pellerin a distant fourth.


3 (3) Bailey (K), Jones (P), and Ladouceur (LS) are locks.

Overall math:

35 offensive guys
37 defensive guys
3 specialists


22 cuts still need to be made. 15 of these will be relatively easy: Lawrence (RB), Smith (TE), Coale (WR), Benford (WR), Weems (OL), Coughman (OL), Dominguez (OL), Fletcher (DL), Gibson (DL), Long (DL), Vega (DL), Lawrence (LB), Reed (LB), Brewer (CB), and Hamilton (S).

That leaves the following 13 guys still fighting for 6 slots (with Livings likely IR'ed one way or another): Tanney (QB), Beasley (WR), Armstrong (WR), Kowalski (OL), Bell (OL), Cohen (DL), Magee (LB), McSurdy (LB), Pellerin (CB/S), Johnson (S), Heath (S), Frampton (S), and McCray (S).

The six I would keep would be: Beasley (WR), Armstrong (WR), Magee (LB), Johnson (S), Heath (S), and Frampton or McCray (S). In terms of priority, I would keep Beasley, Magee, Heath, Johnson, Frampton/McCray, and Armstrong. That's makes Armstrong as my 53rd guy.

The one complication here is that if you want to designate Livings as a returnable IR player, he has to make the final preseason 53-man roster, which means you have to expose one of the guys you hope to use to replace him to waivers. I don't have enough inside info on Livings' knee problem to know if this is worth it. If with 6 weeks more rest he can come back and play as well as last year, I'd put Armstrong on waivers. If he has no real chance of returning, I'd just IR him.

Final note: At the end of writing this, I flipped from keeping McSurdy to keeping Armstrong. Either way, the bottom of the roster is likely to get churned.

What I'm really hoping for is a surprise signing of Brian Waters to stabilize the offensive line.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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