Earlier today, David Helman of Dallascowboys.com tweeted that 17 players on the season-opening 53-man roster won't be on the roster versus the Redskins on Sunday.
But the number of players from that opening-day roster not suiting up on Sunday could be even higher.
Here's the roster from the season-opener against the Giants in Week one and the current status of each player on that roster.
|QB||- -||Tony Romo||Brandon Weeden|
|RB||Darren McFadden, Tyler Clutts||Lance Dunbar||Joseph Randle, Christine Michael|
|WR||Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Devin Street, Lucky Whitehead||Dez Bryant|
|TE||Jason Witten, James Hanna, Geoff Swaim||Gavin Escobar|
|OT||Tyron Smith, Doug Free||Darrion Weems, Jordan Mills|
|OG||Zack Martin, Ronald Leary, La'el Collins|
|DE||DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, Jeremy Mincey, Jack Crawford||Ryan Russell|
|DT||Tyrone Crawford, Nick Hayden||Terrell McClain||Davon Coleman, Ken Bishop|
|LB||Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens, Kyle Wilber, Andrew Gachkar||Keith Smith|
|CB||Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Byron Jones||Tyler Patmon, Corey White|
|S||J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath, Danny McCray||Barry Church|
|ST||Dan Bailey, Chris Jones, L.P. Ladouceur|
On 105.3 The Fan, Jerry Jones said Monday that "there's at least 20 percent of this roster that changes every year, maybe higher." The 'maybe higher' is important, because just in January, Jones said the Cowboys have "about a 30 percent turnover every year."
Semantics aside, Jones was of course referring to the year-on-year change across the roster, not the in-season change. The 17 players no longer on the roster listed above already account for 32% of the roster. And there could be three more players who may not suit up for the Redskins game.
- La'el Collins has a high ankle sprain that could keep him out Sunday. Ronald Leary would likely start in his place.
- Devin Street has been diagnosed with a concussion and sat out practice today. It's not clear that he'll be cleared for Sunday's game.
- Geoff Swaim went home sick this morning and didn't practice today. His availability for Sunday is also up in the air.
Technically, these three players will probably remain on the roster, even if they don't play, as placing them on IR three days before the last game of the season won't accomplish anything. Also, the list doesn't include Orlando Scandrick and Chaz Green, who both have been out since before the season opener.
At first glance, 20 missing players from the season-opener sounds like a lot. But you can probably discount the players previously released by the Cowboys, as they are not critical for the Cowboys success on Sunday. That leaves seven players on IR, but that's not a particularly high number. Unfortunately, it affects two of the Cowboys' most important players in Tony Romo and Dez Bryant.
There's a popular school of thought among Cowboys fans that the Cowboys should tank the game against the Redskins to secure a better draft spot. But the reality is that the Cowboys have been tanking every since Romo was injured in Week 2, and it won't need a special effort to lose against the Redskins on Sunday. Rather, it would take an exceptional effort to win.