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Cowboys News: Team announces their 53-man roster; Rico Gathers in, Dan Bailey out

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys roster 2018: 53-man roster finalized (for now) - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
It’ll likely change, but Ochoa has the current version of the 53-man Cowboys roster as it stands right now.

The Dallas Cowboys have finalized their 53-man roster, although this is likely not the exact 53 players that they’ll carry into next week’s season opener against the Carolina Panthers.

Expect a few roster tweaks, waiver wire moves, practice squad updates, and the like over the rest of the weekend. For now though, here are your 2018 Dallas Cowboys.


Kicker Dan Bailey was among the final cuts - Clarence Hill Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The surprise of the day came when the Cowboys cut ties with one of their top kickers of all time.

Bailey has the club record for field goals in a career with 186 and is the only kicker in franchise history to make the Pro Bowl (2015). He is the second most accurate kicker in NFL history, making 186 of 211 kicks in his career (88.2 percent).

But he was not himself last season when he suffered a groin injury, causing him to miss four games, while missing two extra points and five field goals in the final five games.

The move certainly saves the Cowboys money. Bailey’s cap hit in 2018 was $4.2 million. He was owed base salaries of $3.4 million in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Maher, who was with the Cowboys in 2013, has bounced around in the CFL. He returned to the Cowboys last April but does not have any NFL stats having yet to kick in a regular-season game.

It’s definitely an end of the era for the Cowboys special teams and the beginning of a new one.

Dan Bailey joining the list of Cowboys’ roster cuts leaves most asking one question: Why? - David Moore, SportsDay
Many people are scratching their heads about the Bailey cut and David Moore tries to rationalize the decision.

The search for an explanation -- club officials were silent Saturday -- unearths two possibilities.

One: the Cowboys are intrigued by Maher’s potential and have noticed a slow decline in Bailey’s accuracy. His single season percentages have dropped from .938 to .844 to .750 over the last three seasons. Bailey’s numbers last season were a career low as he battled a groin injury that forced him to miss four games.

Two: Bailey was scheduled to make $3.4 million this season. Maher’s salary is $480,000.

Do the math.

Looking back on the highs and lows of Dan Bailey’s record-breaking career with the Dallas Cowboys - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Bailey has had a career filled with clutch moments, but as Jon Machota points out, there is a common theme to all his low moments - they all happened last year.

LOWS

Week 7 last season: Bailey injured his groin while warming up during the game at San Francisco. He missed the next four games, and wasn’t the same kicker the rest of the season.

Week 14 at the New York Giants: Bailey missed on two of his three field goal attempts. He also missed the first extra-point try of his career.

Week 16 vs. Seattle: Bailey missed two of his six field goal attempts in a 21-12 loss that eliminated the Cowboys from playoff contention. Both misses came in the fourth quarter (34 yards and 48 yards).

Week 17 at Philadelphia: Bailey missed his only field-goal attempt - from 23 yards in the fourth quarter - and his only extra-point try.

Brett Maher has yet to kick in an NFL game - Stefan Stevenson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Cowboys have a new kicker now so it might be a good time to get to know a little about him.

Few players have been as dependable for the Dallas Cowboys as Dan Bailey but he’s no longer the team’s kicker.

That job now belongs to Brett Maher, a 28-year-old who has never attempted a kick in the NFL.

Maher, who was named the Big Ten’s punter and kicker of the year as a junior for Nebraska in 2011. He made 19 of 23 field-goal attempts that year and 43 of 44 point-after attempts. As a senior, he made all 59 point-afters but was 20 of 27 on field-goal attempts.

Maher spent the previous four seasons playing in the CFL. In 58 games, he made 107 of 137 field-goal attempts with a long of 58 yards in 2017.

Maher converted a 57-yard field goal attempt against Houston in the Cowboys’ preseason finale on Thursday.


Despite Arrest, Rico Gathers Makes 53-Man Roster - Nick Eatman, Dallas Cowboys
When news broke of Gather's incident, many people figured that would be the straw that broke the camels back. But it wasn't.

It starts with tight end Rico Gathers, who is on the 53-man roster for the first time in his career. But his Saturday morning didn’t start out so well, considering he was in a Frisco jail after being arrested Friday night for possession of marijuana. Gathers posted bail around 10 a.m. on Saturday but wasn’t able to participate in the team’s walk-through practice at The Star.

The Cowboys decided to keep four tight ends, along with fourth-round pick Dalton Schultz.

Dallas Cowboys TE Rico Gathers arrested for marijuana possession - Todd Archer, ESPN
Of course, it wasn’t all good news for the Cowboys tight end this weekend.

Gathers was released from jail Saturday morning after posting bond. He was arrested Friday at approximately 10:52 p.m. CT in the 3100 block of Parkwood Boulevard in Frisco, Texas. Frisco police say they found Gathers with less than 2 ounces of marijuana.

Rico’s attorney would issue this statement:

”He would like to express his gratitude for the respect and professionalism of the Frisco PD,” the statement by Chip Lewis and Hunter Biederman said. “Rico sincerely apologizes to his teammates and the Cowboy organization for any distraction his arrest may cause as the team prepares to start the season. To this end, we will have no further comment while the matter is pending.”


Bailey Not Only Surprise Cut As Cowboys Trim To 53 - Dave Helman, Dallas Cowboys
While Dan Bailey is the big shocker here, he wasn't the only selection that caught people off-guard.

Chief among those are Pro Bowl kicker Dan Bailey and veteran wide receiver Deonte Thompson. The decision to release Bailey is particularly stunning, as he has been one of the most accurate kickers in league history during his seven seasons in Dallas.

The Cowboys signed Thompson in the spring with the hope that he could bring a speed element to their offense. An Achilles injury limited him for part of training camp, but he worked back into practice last week and seemed likely to make the final cut.

Dallas Cowboys roster cuts: The Cowboys say no to Bo Scarbrough - RJ Ochoa and DannyPhantom, Blogging The Boys
Despite high hopes that he could help the position depth, the Dallas Cowboys have released rookie running back Bo Scarbrough, making him the only 2018 draft pick to get the ax.

Many figured he’d be given a little extra leeway being a fresh pick, but the Cowboys front office didn’t see it that way. Scarbrough had 24 carries for 69 yards in the preseason for a measly 2.9 yard average and it would have been even worse than that had it not been for his lone good run, a 28-yard scamper in the Cowboys first preseason game against San Francisco.

Report: Dallas Cowboys parting ways with Darius Jackson - Tom Ryle, Blogging The Boys
Looks like the Cowboys will go with two running backs for now

The Cowboys have reportedly released Darius Jackson, and since they have already been reported to be releasing Bo Scarbrough, it looks like they will roll into the season without a RB3.

That seems a bit of a risky strategy for a team that is so reliant on a strong running game. But it must be remembered that this is just the initial 53 man roster that is being set. Things can change. Here are some likely options:

- They stick with just Ezekiel Elliott and Rod Smith as “pure” running backs, but call on Jamize Olawale (who is very athletic for a fullback) and Tavon Austin to serve as the RB for some snaps.

- They could bring back either Jackson or Scarbrough if no one else picks them up. The team still has not announced what will happen with Travis Frederick, and if he goes on IR, there would be a spot to fill that could be used to address this.

- They can also hit the waiver wire or try to sign a veteran running back that comes available.

Report: Cowboys releasing defensive end Charles Tapper, hopeful practice squad candidate - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
Tapper became the victim of the deep pass rush.

It feels like forever ago, but Tapper was the Cowboys other fourth round pick in 2016, the one they actually took ahead of Dak Prescott. Tapper has battled injuries and hasn’t really been able to catch on consistently with Dallas.

The report notes that Dallas is likely going to add Tapper to the team’s practice squad if he clears waivers, and that’s great to hear. He has a lot of potential that has never had the opportunity to be realized. Perhaps that can happen without him counting against the 53-man roster.


Seattle Seahawks not planning to trade Earl Thomas - Staff, ESPN
The trade we all want to happen might not be happening at all.

The Seahawks continue to insist they are not willing to give away Thomas, who has held out of training camp because of his contract.

The Seahawks are not in negotiations with Thomas, and there has been nothing to indicate that they are interested in giving him an extension while his current deal has a season remaining. Thomas' contract carries an $8.5 million salary in 2018.

Phooey.

So, what else is going on around the league?

Khalil Mack agrees to six-year, $141M deal with Bears - Kevin Patra, NFL.com
The Cowboys won't have to face the Bears this season, but the Giants will and when they do, Eil Manning will have one additional pass rusher to worry about.

Adding Mack is huge for Matt Nagy's team. The Bears' defense already had the potential to be sneaky good this season under coordinator Vic Fangio. Chicago boasted an underrated back end led by corner Kyle Fuller and safety Eddie Jackson, a stout front with Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman and a very good linebacker corps with Danny Trevathan and sideline-to-sideline tackling maven in rookie Roquan Smith. The biggest question mark was who would rush the passer opposite Leonard Floyd.

We now have our answer.

Adding the former Defensive Player of the Year completely changes the makeup of the Bears' defense. Mack is a game-wrecking bulldozer who doesn't come out of the game. In four years in Oakland, Mack compiled 40.5 sacks and 231 tackles while missing a mere 44 passing snaps.

If you do the math, that equates to over $23 million annually for Mack. You can't help but wonder what this means for DeMarcus Lawrence next offseason.

Dallas Cowboys Reunion with Guard Jonathan Cooper A Possibility? - Sean Martin, Inside The Star
Cooper was solid for the Cowboys last year at left guard, but it wasn't enough to make the team interested in re-signing him. I wonder if that could change considering the health along the Cowboys interior offensive line?

Cooper played 92 snaps this preseason for the 49ers, including a game high 60 in the team's preseason finale - an oddity for any hopeful starters or experienced players. Recovering from surgery on a knee injury suffered against the Eagles in week 17 last year, Cooper could use the reps to potentially impress a new team for 2018.

If released by the 49ers, Cooper will of course want to sign on for a starting position elsewhere. The Cowboys did offer the former first round pick the most stability he's found in his five years of professional football though. Cooper's 13 starts in the silver and blue were the most he's ever had in a season, starting a combined 14 games for the Cardinals and Browns between 2014-16.

And it appears that former Cowboys receiver Brice Butler is out of work at the moment.

Past/Present: Vikings’ Newman Announces Retirement - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
Former Cowboys cornerback calls it quits after 15 years in the league.

Cornerback Terence Newman, the first draft pick of the Bill Parcells era in Dallas, will retire after 15 seasons, the Minnesota Vikings announced.

The 39-year-old Newman will join Mike Zimmer’s coaching staff in Minnesota, the Vikings announced.

Newman was part of a 2003 Cowboys rookie class that included tight end Jason Witten (third round) and quarterback Tony Romo (undrafted). Newman played nine seasons in Dallas and made two Pro Bowls.

He spent the last six seasons playing in Cincinnati and Minnesota.

For a full list of all the roster cuts for each NFL team, you can find them on NFL.com.

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