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How many of the available 53 roster spots on the Cowboys are already set in stone?

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There’s so much talk about 53-man rosters, but there aren’t exactly 53 spots available. How many are?

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

We’re past the midway point of the Dallas Cowboys preseason and that means one topic is all the rage... 53-man rosters.

Who’s on yours? Who’s on mine? Who’s not making it? It’s a fun topic to debate anywhere and everywhere, but it’s one that doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story.

Breaking news here, but the Cowboys don’t have 53 available spots on their football team. I’ve always thought we should refer to this idea as an X-man roster, although Charles Xavier might have a license on that term already.

The mothership’s David Helman touched on this in a recent tweet of his, noting that there are right about 45 roster spots completely locked up on the Cowboys.

Is it 45, though? Not to say that’s wrong, but in the spirit of debate let’s have one. How many of 53 would you say are indisputable at this point? Here’s a secret, once we know that number we can subtract it from 53 to find out how many are technically up for grabs. Here’s my X-man roster:

Dallas Cowboys X-Man Roster

QB RB FB WR TE OL DE DT LB CB S ST
QB RB FB WR TE OL DE DT LB CB S ST
Dak Prescott Ezekiel Elliott Keith Smith Dez Bryant Jason Witten Tyron Smith DeMarcus Lawrence Maliek Collins Sean Lee Orlando Scandrick Byron Jones Dan Bailey
Darren McFadden Terrance Williams Geoff Swaim Travis Frederick Tyrone Crawford Stephen Paea Jaylon Smith Anthony Brown Jeff Heath Chris Jones
Rod Smith Cole Beasley Rico Gathers Zack Martin Taco Charlton Cedric Thornton Anthony Hitchens Nolan Carroll Kavon Frazier L.P. LaDouceur
Alfred Morris Brice Butler James Hanna La'el Collins David Irving Damien Wilson Chidobe Awuzie Xavier Woods
Ryan Switzer Chaz Green Damontre Moore Kyle Wilber Jourdan Lewis
Jonathan Cooper Charles Tapper
Joe Looney
Emmett Cleary

By my count there are 49 Dallas Cowboys who I’m confident are on this football team. In the spirit of 45 (shout out to Rod Smith) I could trim this down to there by losing the services of Joe Looney, Emmett Cleary, Cedric Thornton, and Alfred Morris.

What does this magical number mean, exactly? It means that there are really four roster spots up for grabs, and there are more than four conceivable options:

  • Kellen Moore
  • Cooper Rush
  • Noah Brown
  • Lance Lenoir
  • Byron Bell
  • Benson Mayowa
  • Lenny Jones
  • Lewis Neal
  • Mark Nzeocha
  • Justin Durant
  • Duke Thomas
  • Marquez White

Bear in mind that the 49-man roster obviously includes Ezekiel Elliott, David Irving, and Damontre Moore and that since they’re all currently suspended to begin the season that there are three more roster spots for a period of time. Also consider that Nolan Carroll and Damien Wilson could hypothetically be added to that list, giving us five more total options to play with.

How do you shave that many down to just four, seven, or nine? You play two more preseason games, and you look for the best. Genius, I know.