The deadline for teams to complete their 53-man roster has come and gone and while the Cowboys will likely still add some talent through trades and signing players cut from other teams, we have an idea of who was formally let go from the Cowboys.
While there were no moves that compare in level of shock to Dan Bailey’s release last year, there were still a few head-turning moves. It’s a testament to the Cowboys’ depth that there are players who got cut that we might think should have made it, and as such here are the five best players who failed to make the roster.
This is probably the biggest head scratcher of the Cowboys cuts. Wilson, a sixth-round pick last year, was considered by many to be a lock for one of the final two receiver spots alongside Devin Smith, who did make the team.
Working his way back from an injury that kept him out all of last year, Wilson saw the second most targets of any receiver in the preseason, catching 11 balls for 122 yards. According to The Football Database, nine of Wilson’s receptions were for first downs. The only receiver to put up better numbers was Smith.
Moreover, Wilson contributed on special teams as a returner. He had two kickoff returns for 38 yards and seven punt returns for 53 yards. His ability to contribute in the return game, which Smith can’t, was seen as an advantage working in his favor. Instead, the Cowboys went light at the position with five, Wilson being the odd man out.
There is still potential for Wilson to make the practice squad if he clears waivers.
Donovan Olumba was on the practice squad for 2018 after losing out to Charvarius Ward in a preseason battle, but his stellar 2019 performance seemed to lock up a roster spot for him. After leading the team in passes defensed with three, Olumba also peaked in the fourth preseason game with a pick six.
Donovan Olumba interception to the house. Welcome to the 53.— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) August 30, 2019
However, things didn’t go that way. For whatever reason Olumba was not kept on the final roster, with the Cowboys going with just five cornerbacks in the end. Like Wilson, Olumba would be a great addition to the practice squad if he can clear waivers.
From the moment that Daniel Wise was signed to the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent, his odds to make the roster were slim. It’s not necessarily a surprise that Wise was cut considering how deep the team is on the defensive line, but the former Kansas Jayhawk definitely showed his value during the preseason.
His eight tackles were third most among defensive linemen and he led the team in sacks, with two of them coming against the Buccaneers in the final game. Wise flashed serious pass rushing potential, which could prevent him from making the practice squad.
To me the Cowboys have two options with Daniel Wise: put him on the 53 or say goodbye. I don't think he's making it through waivers.— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) August 30, 2019
Undrafted out of Oklahoma State, Justin Phillips made an impression throughout the preseason as a stout run stopper. He gained more playing time after Luke Gifford’s unfortunate injury, and responded by leading the team in tackles with 28.
Phillips also recorded an interception, further showing his ability to make an impact on defense. The working theory is that he’ll be added to the full roster once Gifford is placed on the Injured Reserve/Designated to Return list.
Like Olumba, Jordan Chunn was on the practice squad last year after going undrafted. Yet, Chunn looked vastly improved this preseason and seemed close to grabbing a roster spot. He rushed for 49 yards on 16 carries, a better average than the more experienced Darius Jackson, and added an additional nine receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown.
In the end, though, Dallas went light at the running back position, keeping just two true running backs and fullback Jamize Olawale (not including Ezekiel Elliott). Chunn seems headed for another year on the practice squad, but his play in the preseason didn’t indicate that.