Every year we hear the term "final cuts" but as the majority of us know; today's cuts are anything but final. The Cowboys have plenty of hard decisions to make with their own roster, but it is all about churning in the National Football League. For the fans, this is kind of like another free agency period, where everyone can excited about potential new faces.
For Dallas, they certainly have a few more questions to answer ahead of their Sunday night showdown with the New York Giants. After going through training camp and the preseason, some rose to the occasion while others faltered in front of their opportunities. Let's look at a few guys that could help upgrade the Cowboys roster and possibly fill some of these duties that haven't found a suitor just yet.
QB Matt Flynn - Released By Jets
The Cowboys are blessed to have a perennial Pro Bowl quarterback like Tony Romo but there isn't much confidence in anything behind him. Now, Dallas could look to get Dustin Vaughan or Jameill Showers on the practice squad but that has nothing to do with who's currently on the roster. Brandon Weeden looked good at times during garbage-time but when given the reins, he fell flat. Weeden certainly has a strong arm but his decision making, accuracy and ability to release the ball with quickness can be questioned. Matt Flynn is a veteran that has had limited success but has shown that he can lead a group of guys if needed. Most people will remember him stepping in for Aaron Rodgers and putting up over 500 passing yards against the Detroit Lions. However, remember the time that he led his team to an improbable victory at Cowboys' stadium two years ago? I sure do. Matt Flynn could be an option that would give the Cowboys a more solid number two though the Cowboys seem to love Weeden.
DT Phil Taylor - Released By Browns
Now the Cowboys already have a crowded stable of defensive linemen, however, Rod Marinelli does love his reclamation projects and so does Will McClay. What the Cowboys would get is a guy who can penetrate from both tackle positions and is a former first-round pick himself. However, the question would then be, who are you going to cut? The Cowboys have filled out their depth pretty well and guys like Davon Coleman and Ken Bishop have played very well in the preseason. Taylor is a big, strong tackle but has struggled to catch on in his time in Cleveland. So that begs the question, is he better than Ken Bishop? Maybe the more important question would be can he help this team get to where they believe they are capable of?
RB Jonas Gray - Released By Patriots
The Cowboys look poised to try out a committee approach but in their heart of hearts, the Cowboys coaches would like someone to emerge. The issue with the Cowboys' running backs is not talent, it's competition. Darren McFadden looked smooth in his limited action in the preseason. Joseph Randle has also shown his explosiveness though he needs serious work on blitz pickup. Jonas Gray would not walk into Valley Ranch and start necessarily but he could give the Cowboys more comfort in their stable at the position. Gray has had some hiccups in his time with New England but has shown the talents of starting caliber running back. The hope is that Gray is past all of his immaturity issues he had in New England. If given the opportunity to compete, Gray would be up for the challenge. If this is the best offensive line in football as advertised, the Cowboys need to make sure their running game stays as efficient as last season. Jonas Gray is certainly an interesting option to ponder.
OT Charles Brown - Released By Jets
Dallas needs an answer at the swing tackle position even though Darrion Weems has made the roster for now. Weems was given every opportunity to earn the spot but just hasn't. Of course, Charles Brown was cut for a reason but has started games in this league. Brown was with the Saints for four seasons, where he started 22 of 37 games. If the Cowboys are looking for a guy with NFL experience than Brown could be a good pickup. The Cowboys cut Laurence Gibson but probably plan to bring him back on the practice squad if he clears waivers. Dallas had a great thing going when Jermey Parnell was the backup, but you can't keep secrets forever in the NFL. With the health of Doug Free always in question, finding an eligible backup is imperative.
OT Derek Sherrod - Released By Chiefs
Sherrod is a former first-round pick of the Green Bay Packers but hasn't had any luck starting in the NFL. It's a bit alarming to think that he hasn't caught on just yet but maybe this offensive staff could mold him into a swing tackle. That's pretty much what he had been doing in Green Bay. Sherrod has to have some pedigree to him to be taken 32nd overall. With the Cowboys need to find an adequate backup, it wouldn't hurt to give him a look. Scouts described Sherrod at the time as an "athletic edge blocker" with great feet and discipline in his technique. Even if Gibson is brought back through the practice squad, maybe having a veteran on a one-year deal can help them while Gibson develops. As Bryan Broaddus says, if you seen it once, then let's see it again. Sherrod could be a guy that gives them stability to a position in-flux.
LB Gabe Martin - Released By Cardinals
Though he's a rookie, he makes this list because of the Cowboys previous interest in him. Martin finished the preseason with eight tackles and a sack. According to Dane Brugler's scouting report:
"You love the energy (Gabe Martin) shows. He’s athletic. He runs all over the field. He can be blocked pretty easily and taken out of the play. But when he is able to have free space to operate, he has the range that you want. So I think he’s a guy that you look for maybe on special teams. He can be an impact player there while he fights for a job in the linebacker corps."
If that doesn't sound like a guy that could help both Matt Eberflus and Rich Bisaccia, then tell me otherwise. His senior year at Bowling Green was impressive where he recorded 115 tackles, 18 for loss, 2.5 sacks and an interception. As a run-and-hit linebacker, Martin has some pretty good instincts in the passing game where he also had four passes batted away. This team loves their linebackers and especially versatile ones, Martin could be that guy with a bunch of upside to boot.
OT Tyrus Thompson - Released By Vikings
Thompson is another rookie that was pretty high on my potential draft target exercises. He was projected by most to fall somewhere in the fourth round. Unfortunately for him, he fell to the Vikings in the sixth round. However, the Cowboys have some of the better offensive line coaches in the league and Thompson doesn't come without some skill. Here's an excerpt from back in March:
Thompson has what Dane Brugler calls "tree-trunks for thighs" and his lower body is built well for the NFL. He's got good initial quickness and long arms that make him equally efficient in run or pass blocking. Thompson also had extensive exposure in the Big 12 to elite pass rushers. He's got good functional strength but overall needs help to not get bullied on his heels. He tends to get grabby and must eliminate his mental mistakes but could be a starting right tackle at the NFL level. That being said Thompson could be had in the late fourth round.
With the Cowboys rising uncertainty at the swing tackle position, why not take another swing on a young guy that had exposure in college. A lot of pass rushers come out of the Big 12 and it's not like Thompson didn't succeed. Of course, he may need work, but just about everyone released will need work too. Thompson is a young player in search of some molding, come on Frank Pollack and Marc Colombo, you know you want to.