It's Monday, which means it's back to work for the Dallas Cowboys down at Valley Ranch. The team has returned to its offseason program today and officially filled the last two remaining spots on the expanded 90-man roster that they are allowed to take to training camp. Back in April, the league announced that teams would be allowed to take 90 men through training camp, all the way until the third preseason game, when they would have to trim roster sizes down to to 80 players; before going down to the regular season limit of 53 following the final exhibition contest.
For the final two spots, Dallas nabbed fullback Jamize Olawale and defensive lineman Ben Bass as was widely expected last week after the rookie minicamp ended. In fact, Olawale tweeted that he anticipated the signing last week Monday. Both UDFA's are at The Ranch to take part in a full squad offseason conditioning program, side-by-side with the veterans. The draft picks are also there; all except for fourth-rounder Matt Johnson who still has school commitments at Eastern Washington. [Todd Archer, ESPN].
Of course, players at the bottom of the roster are always fighting for their professional lives and have to keep on eye an whom the Cowboys bring in for tryouts; regardless of position. You might be a defensive lineman, but a depleted receiving corps might make you the odd man out.
In an interesting note from that Archer article, it appears that Stephen Jones' influence (and/or maybe Jason Garrett's) may have won another battle with father Jerry. Dallas has, for some reason unbeknownst to outside observers, waited until the week before training camp opens to sign their draft picks. This will often lead to their top pick missing the first day of camp activities. Worry no more, as Dallas is focused on having all players signed by mid-June.
As an editorial, it made absolutely no sense for the long wait. You know you want the players on your team or you wouldn't have drafted them. Before the rookie wage scale, were you really gaining that much leverage (or bank interest) that it was worth putting the young players through the waiting game? They'd have to borrow money from their agents in order to survive without that signing bonus, making them finding living arrangements more difficult and possibly postponing them becoming comfortable in a new city. Why wouldn't you want all of that out of the way so that when camp started all they have to do is worry about football?
I'm glad the front office is making this seemingly minor switch. I'm sure Morris Claiborne and Kyle Wilber along with the other draft picks feel the same way; as do their agents. Both of those players are at The Ranch this week as well, participating in rehab work for their wrist and finger respectively.