The cruelest day of the NFL season is over. All 32 teams have made their cuts to get to an initial 53-man roster. But for most teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, the players they cut are the main source for building the ten man practice squad. These players are already versed in the playbook and the system, which gives them some advantages over outside resources. First they have to clear waivers, but at 4 pm ET on Sunday, any who are not claimed will be available to sign. Here are some of the waived/released Cowboys who may be getting their team tablet back soon.
The thinking is that Moore will be re-signed to the 53-man roster once the Cowboys put Rico Gathers on injured reserve. But is that the most efficient way to retain him and the towering football knowledge he has? OK, that may be a little sarcastic, but it is obvious that the coaching staff really likes to have Moore around to help Dak Prescott get ready for upcoming games, and presumably he has similar value in bringing Cooper Rush along. That does not require him to be on the roster. He could do the same thing from the practice squad, which somewhat amazingly he is still eligible for, allowing the team to sign another, more valuable player to the roster. And as they showed with Gathers last year, the team does not have to limit Moore to the PS minimum pay. They could easily pay him at or near his roster salary. Should he be needed to backup (a possibility we all sincerely hope does not eventuate), they can activate him at any time. It may not be the way they decide to handle him - but it would be a creative and smart way to get what they value from him. He would have to not get any offers from other teams, but that just may not be in the cards for him.
Neal was one player that many thought had a real shot at making the roster, at least until Damontre Moore and David Irving finished their suspensions. He is a prototypical PS asset the team likes, someone who can serve as a ready reserve in case of injuries and also a possible future player who can benefit from a year of coaching and work. May be one of the top targets.
In the eyes of many, he vaulted Andy Jones during camp and the preseason games. He also has some value as a backup kick/punt returner.
Similarly to Lenoir, EZ had some real flashes in preseason. The team may not want to go with two wide receivers on the PS since they are carrying six on the 53 thanks to the strong showing by Noah Brown. But WRs are also very useful in practices for the scout team, and the team has gone heavy at the position in the past on the PS. Also, either he or Lenoir may attract some attention from WR needy teams, so if one goes, the other may get to the PS by default.
The tight end position is clearly of great value to the Cowboys and their offensive scheme, so it is very likely they will have one on the PS. Jarwin had some very nice practices and preseason performances. Look for him to be signed if he clears.
Had the Cowboys not signed Bene Benwikere, White would probably have made the 53. Since the team invested a draft pick, he is almost certainly going to be on the PS if available.
He has been the ultimate team player, switching from QB to safety. This would be as much a reward for his hard work and loyalty as his talent.
Jordan Carrell or Joey Ivie
Both were seventh-round picks, but it is not likely that the team would keep both. It is hard to say which would be the choice, since neither exactly set things on fire in camp or preseason games.
Joseph Jones or Kennan Gilchrist
Again, there is probably not room for both, but the team likes depth, and with Anthony HItchens’ injury, they will likely be deciding which one has the most upside.
Kadeem Edwards, Dan Skipper, or Nate Theaker
With only eight offensive linemen on the roster for the moment (although this may be something the team is working hard to address from outside the organization), the team will almost certainly be wanting some depth here. But the question is who, since Edwards reportedly has some injury concerns and Skipper and Theaker were often abused a bit in practices. This also may be something they bring a player in from elsewhere to put on the PS once they know who clears waivers league-wide. A possible sleeper here is C Ross Burbank.
He had some flashes in practices after he was signed, but most importantly, he is a cornerback. That may elevate his value.
A kicker may be an unusual choice, but he can punt and place-kick. That may make him a valuable emergency contingency.
That is more than enough names to fill out the practice squad without bringing in outside players. And the Cowboys will almost certainly sign one or more of those. There may be other names that caught the eyes of the staff in camp that we are unaware of, but we will know soon. For some of these players, the pro football dream will get a reprieve.