The initial 53-man roster for the Dallas Cowboys has already undergone several changes. That is simply a way of life at this point in the season as the team manages getting players to IR and the added complication of the COVID protocols. It is hardly over yet.
Long snapper Jake McQuaide was back at practice today. Punter Bryan Anger still needs to be re-signed. Roster is currently at 52. With Anger's return, Williams coming off COVID list potentially, Cowboys would need to open a spot. (math not a strong point so don't hold me to it)— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) September 3, 2021
Not only will the return of Connor Williams and Bryan Anger lead to at least one corresponding move, Noah Brown is still waiting in the wings as he works toward being cleared from COVID. That could mean at least two current members of the team will be removed before the opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, although hopefully the Cowboys will at least try to get them back on the practice squad. It is worth noting Dallas still has one vacant spot on the PS, since Isaac Alarcon does not count against the 16 player limit, so that is a probably landing spot for at least the first one of these to go.
But who? Here are the most vulnerable.
LB Azur Kamara
This would be somewhat heartbreaking, after he was featured on Hard Knocks and how his mother reacted to him making the team.
Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy called DE Azur Kamara and told him he made 53-man roster. Kamara then video called his mother, relaying the news. "Right when I said, 'I made the 53,' she didn't hear anything I said after that. She just started singing and dancing and jumping around."— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) September 2, 2021
He would be expected to mostly contribute on special teams but he would also be battling someone like LB Luke Gifford who is also slated to mainly see action on teams. That just seems like a bit too many “teams” players.
WR Simi Fehoko
The Cowboys will not necessarily make a position for position move in these cases, but waiving Fehoko when Brown is ready to return makes a lot of sense. As the sixth WR, Fehoko would probably wind up on the inactive list almost every game. He is one that would certainly get a PS offer, given how Dallas hates to give up on any draft pick. But it would risk him getting claimed, although that is probably more a combination of homerism and paranoia than a real danger.
C/G Matt Farniok
He, like Fehoko, may have made the roster strictly on his draftee status. And while waiving him would mean the unwelcome return of the Williams as backup center idea, the team still has Connor McGovern and Brandon Knight for interior depth. If Kamara was the 53rd man to make the roster, then Farniok was 52. The math alone says that makes him a candidate.
DE Bradlee Anae
Put down your slings and arrows. With the staff electing to bring Chauncey Golston back rather than have him start the season on PUP, there are now six DEs on the roster. Mike McCarthy and Dan Quinn both like to go five and five at end and DT. They would be short until Neville Gallimore returns from IR, but the staff may be willing to ride that out for three weeks. They are not going to waive Golston, so Anae could be the odd man out.
LB Luke Gifford
If they do keep Kamara, then Gifford could be in the crosshairs. He may well just be a placeholder for Francis Bernard anyway, who like Gallimore could return after three weeks. Bernard was seen as ahead of Gifford before getting hurt, and that is not a good sign.
QB Cooper Rush
Almost everyone and his/her mother thought the Cowboys would be content to roll into the season with just two quarterbacks on the roster. The claiming of Will Grier now gives them three. They may hang on to Rush just because they are not confident enough in Grier, but the very fact they got another QB in the first place is an argument for him to be one of the possibilities here.
G Brandon Knight
Knight could fall prey if the team would rather keep Farniok. Knight may actually be more at risk because he came to Dallas as a UDFA. Dallas just overvalues even their seventh-round picks when constructing the roster, and given that the team saw fit to shift Knight to guard after he was forced into starting at tackle last year may indicate a bit of shaky ground for him.
Someone is going to have to go, and as stated, likely two. These seem the most obvious candidates. We may be thrown a curveball, of course, but these are the ones who should be worried.