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Dallas Cowboys Roster Cuts Looming: Veteran Players On The Bubble?

As tough as the looming roster cuts may be for the individuals involved, they can also be a sign of improving roster depth, and there may be opportunity in that roster depth for the Cowboys.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

By 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, all NFL teams must reduce their rosters to a maximum of 75 players on the active list. The Cowboys are currently maxed out at 90 players, which means 15 players have to be cut by Tuesday.

On Thursday, the Cowboys play the Broncos in the fourth and final preseason game of the year. That will give the coaches one last opportunity to evaluate the players at the bottom of the roster before the Cowboys and every other team will have to finalize their 53-man roster by 4:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 30th.

As hard as these initial cuts on Tuesday will be for the individuals involved, from a roster point of view, these cuts are pretty straightforward as they usually involve the bottom of the roster guys, camp bodies, and recently signed players. In fact, going by the first cuts over the last few years across the league, it's unlikely that there will be many noteworthy names in this group.

But that was then, and this is now - the competition for a Cowboys roster spot is tougher than it's been at any time in recent memory, and that may force the Cowboys to release some veteran players in the first round of cuts:

  • A nine-man 2014 draft class that could see up to eight picks make the roster (Ben Gardner will go on IR).
  • A big part of cutting down the roster is about special teams and about which 46 players will be active every week. Jason Garrett has stated that in an ideal world, the Cowboys would like to keep players who can develop into position players while performing well on special teams until they are ready - a mindset that clearly favors the potential of the young guys over the experience of the veteran guys.
  • Undrafted free agents like DT Davon Coleman and CB Tyler Patmon are making a compelling case for why they should be part of the 53-man roster

Among the veterans from last year that may have reason to be worried are FB Tyler Clutts, CBs Sterling Moore and B.W. Webb, OT Jermey Parnell, and DT Caesar Rayford.

Fullbacks: Clutts simply hasn't shown enough to warrant a roster spot, and we don't even need to talk about J.C. Copeland. In a battle between a fullback and a fourth running back, Ryan Williams seems to have the edge - unless the Cowboys decide to bring in a fourth tight end.

Cornerbacks: Orlando Scandrick's four-game suspension complicates things a little at the cornerback spot. The Cowboys will likely carry five corners. Carr and Claiborne are locks. Terrance Mitchell and Tyler Patmon have made a strong push for a roster spot, which could potentially leave either Moore or Webb as the odd man out. Moore has missed time in camp repeatedly, and did not play in the first two preseason games, while Webb missed last night's game.

Jermey Parnell: Parnell is set to count $1.5 Million. That and a lackluster performance this year puts him at risk, though a trade could also be an option here.

Caesar Rayford: The Cowboys list Rayford as the last guy on their defensive tackle depth chart (though that depth chart may not be all it's cracked up to be). The Cowboys sent a conditional 2015 draft pick to the Colts for Rayford last year, but he spent the second part of the season on the practice squad anyway. This may be it for Rayford.

A day after final roster cuts last year, the Cowboys traded DT Sean Lissemore to the Chargers and TE Dante Rosario to the Bears. A few days later, they cut OG Nate Livings, S Eric Frampton and LB Alex Albright. Tuesday's cuts may come and go without any vets being cut, but recent history shows that bottom of the roster veterans live dangerously in Dallas in late August/early September

Which veteran players do you see missing the cut, either on Tuesday or on Saturday, or possibly being traded at some point over the next ten days?

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