It was a wild and hectic cutdown day for the Dallas Cowboys. There were expected cuts, shocking cuts, and players who made the roster we didn’t see coming. For those who were left on the outside looking in, it was certainly a rough day.
But for some of them, it may not be the end of their quest to be a Cowboy. The team has several candidates for injured reserve status. Travis Frederick is the one we are all waiting to find out about. If his recovery from Guillain-Barre syndrome is projected to be on the order of weeks, not months, he could stay on the 53. But it is also very possible, even likely, that he will go on IR and miss at least half the season. He is not the only one. Noah Brown and Datone Jones both had injury issues that could lead to the team electing to “stash” them for some time, and there may be others we just don’t know about. Those would open up spots that need to be filled. The Cowboys will look to the players cut by other teams - but they also can fill them from their own cuts.
And there are even more opportunities when Dallas fills out its practice squad. Each NFL team can have up to ten players on their PS, and these players can serve as a ready reserve in case of injuries on the roster, plus they can be developed for next year. Additionally, the team can always churn the bottom of the roster, and that is something we see every year.
So who are some players that the Cowboys might be interested in giving a second chance to?
There are two names that the team is reported to already have plans in place to bring back for the PS if they clear waivers, DE Charles Tapper and WR Lance Lenoir.
Source: Cowboys have cut DE Charles Tapper. Dallas picked him in the fourth round in 2016. If he clears waivers, he’s heading to their practice squad— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) September 1, 2018
Cowboys are releasing WR Lance Lenoir, who came close to making final roster & team would like back on practice squad— Kate Hairopoulos (@khairopoulos) September 1, 2018
Both had strong camps and preseasons. Lenoir was thought by many to have earned the sixth wide receiver spot that Noah Brown wound up occupying, while Tapper simply was caught in a numbers game when the Cowboys found themselves with an embarrassment of riches at defensive end. Additionally, running backs Bo Scarbrough and Darius Jackson are both possibilities, although the team would likely only offer to sign one, most likely Scarbrough.
There are other names of interest. Although he is not practice squad eligible, Deonte Thompson could be re-signed if a wide receiver slot opens up via Brown going on IR. The team is already on the hook for a cool million dollars in bonus money for him, so there is financial incentive to bring him back. S Jeron Johnson looked very good in the last preseason game, and there is at least some chance the team could add him if they want to bolster the safety numbers.
The team also will be looking at the following players for the practice squad.
T Jake Campos is a bit of an under-the-radar possibility, but he was noted to have shown improvement through camp. He might be seen as a good development project, and the team can always use some offensive linemen for the scout team.
S Kam Kelly got a lot of attention prior to camp, but did not live up to expectations. Still, he is a good example of a player who might benefit from a year of work and come back to compete in 2019’s camp.
DE Austin Larkin is similar to Campos, an eligible player that the team may want to work with another year.
WR Mekale McKay certainly flashed at times. It is not unheard of for Dallas to have more than one WR on the PS, and he may get consideration.
C Jacob Ohnesorge could be signed to the PS just because of the lack of depth at the position.
CB Donovan Olumba was seen to be in the mix as a fifth cornerback. The team only kept four on the roster, so he is not only a very likely PS target, but could have an outside chance of getting onto the 53 man roster if the team decides to add there.
CB Duke Thomas spent last year on the Cowboys’ PS, and still has a year of eligibility. Dallas has brought players back for a second spell on the PS in the past, notably Jameill Showers.
CB Marquez White is another name that could get another go-round, if for no other reason than that the Cowboys invested a draft pick in him. However, not all three of these CBs would likely wind up on the PS, and maybe only one of them could make it.
Those are some of the names that seem to have some value. There may be others, because we don’t know how the staff looks at some of the players who were cut. But this also looks like a year when a lot of the PS is going to come from elsewhere.
At least some of the players listed above should get offered a PS contract, which at least will give them a chance to earn a paycheck. It is a lot less than they would get (unless the Cowboys sweetened the deal, the way they have for some players in the past), but the minimum is $7,600 a week - and that is a lot more than nothing. Especially when it lets you keep the dream of being in the NFL alive.
We’ll soon hear the names. Stay tuned here at BTB, where we’ll post them as soon as we get them.