The claiming period for players placed on waivers during the final cuts to the 53-man rosters across the league will expire at 12:00 noon EST on Sunday. If the Cowboys have put in any waiver claims, they face long odds of being awarded the players they claimed.
Here's the NFL's explanation of how the waiver wire system works:
Once a club waives a player, the 31 other clubs either file a claim to obtain him or they waive their chance to do so (thus the origin of the term "waiver"). Clubs are assigned players on a priority basis.
From the first business day after the Super Bowl until the day after the third regular season week, assignments are based on a claiming order that is the same as the order in which clubs selected in that year’s Draft. From the beginning of the fourth regular season weekend through the Super Bowl, assignments are based on the inverse order of their win-loss record.
Once the waiver period starts each year through the trading deadline, a vested veteran - a player who has acquired four years of pension credit - is not subject to the waiver system if the club decides to release him.
That means if a team decides to release a vested veteran, the league considers his contract to be terminated immediately and he is free to negotiate and sign with any other club.
This year, the Cowboys are in a bad position on the waiver wire, thanks to their 13-3 finish last year. If the Cowboys are going to claim anyone off of waivers, almost every other team will have to have passed on that player. The waiver wire order is the original NFL Draft order (prior to all the subsequent trades and forfeited draft picks), and the Cowboys come in at #28 overall.
The Cowboys may put in some waiver claims, but their chances of getting a player are much better if they go after the vested veterans who became free agents with their release.
Here's the full waiver wire order:
10. Buffalo Bills
16. Baltimore Ravens
18. Tennessee Titans
20. Denver Broncos
21. Detroit Lions
22. Miami Dolphins
23. New York Giants
24. Oakland Raiders
25. Houston Texans
26. Seattle Seahawks
28. Dallas Cowboys
31. Atlanta Falcons