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Report: Cowboys have released defensive end Benson Mayowa and defensive tackle Joe Vellano

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The moves are beginning for the Cowboys as they head into free agency.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

We’re now officially inside a week of free agency beginning, and we potentially have our first casualty when it comes to the 2018 Dallas Cowboys. Defensive end Benson Mayowa has been released according to inside sources.

Mayowa’s release frees up approximately $2.75M in salary cap space, and it’s one that hardly comes as a surprise. It was just two years ago that Dallas signed Mayowa, then a restricted free agent of the Raiders, to a three-year offer sheet of $8.25M.

Benson started off slowly during his first season in Dallas, but he came on nicely towards the end. He finished his inaugural season in the silver and blue with six sacks, but his production dipped significantly in 2017.

Dallas has, shockingly, some legitimate (ish) options at defensive end. Considering they just placed the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence, that Tyrone Crawford still exists, and Taco Charlton hopefully taking the next step next season (don’t forget Charles Tapper), it was just time for Benson to go.

The Cowboys are in the process of freeing up some money as they head into free agency next week after the franchise tag on Lawrence ate up most of their remaining cap space. Expect a few more moves like this one, combined with some restructuring of existing contracts (Travis Frederick) to get more money for potential free agent signings.

Mayowa wasn’t the lone cut from Wednesday. Defensive tackle Joe Vellano was also let go. He joined the practice squad back in November.