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3 bubble battles to watch this year for the 2022 Dallas Cowboys

Players will be fighting for roster spots once the Cowboys reach training camp.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys roster is never settled. There are always players added and players released; it’s a 24/7/365 endeavor. But as of right now we have a general shape of the Cowboys 2022 roster. The period right after the draft is a marker in time where you expect to see maybe 95% of the roster building for the upcoming season done.

There is a likelihood that the Cowboys will either sign a free agent or two, or maybe even trade for a player, before we hit training camp in July. We can revisit our roster bubble battles then if it makes sense. For now, we’ll pretend that tomorrow is training camp and take a look at some bubble battles and their likely outcome.

Sean McKeon vs. Jeremy Sprinkle (TE)

The Cowboys have a top two here. Dalton Schultz is the unquestioned starter playing on his franchise tag. Fourth-round draft pick Jake Ferguson will certainly be given a year of backup playing time to see if he could possibly replace Schultz down the road. The leaves one more spot if the Cowboys go with three which is a normal amount.

Sprinkle is the veteran who has been around the NFL for a while. Last year he played on just under 15% of the offensive snaps but logged time on almost 52% of the special teams. McKeon played on just under 10% of the offensive snaps while logging time on roughly 17% of special teams snaps. McKeon did throw in one touchdown last year but both players had a negligible impact in the passing game.

Both have expiring contracts after the year and neither represent any kind of cap hit or savings of any significant note.

Verdict: Sprinkle stays. His special teams value and ability to block put him over McKeon in value.

Ryan Nall vs. Nick Ralston (FB)

This particular battle might not have a winner if the Cowboys just decide they don’t need a fullback at all. But considering they’ve kept players around this long for the position, it seems like they may keep one.

Nall is a recent free agent signing. He got a one-year deal for just under $1 million. Nall only saw the field for the Chicago Bears last season on just under 2% of offensive plays. He did participate on just about 35% of their special teams snaps. That was what was most noted when signed, his ability on special teams.

Ralston is under contract through 2023 at a price under $1 million for each season. He only got in on one offensive play last year and played on just over 12% of the special teams plays. But he was only active for four games.

Verdict: Given that the Cowboys made an effort to go out and sign Nall in the offseason, and his reputation for special teams, he’s the winner in this competition.

Chris Naggar vs. Jonathan Garibay (K)

The all-important but under-the-radar battle to replace Greg Zuerlein. This battle will probably play out all through the preseason right up until the final day of roster cuts.

The Cowboys signed Naggar to a reserve/futures contract early in the offseason. He actually played a game for the Cleveland Browns last year and made a field goal but missed one of two extra point attempts. He was an undrafted free agent in 2021 who signed with the New York Jet before moving on to the Browns. He had one year of regular kicking or SMU in college. He hit 94% of his extra points in college and 81% of his field goals.

Garibay is one of the Cowboys undrafted free agent signees after completing a college career at Texas Tech. He has two years of kicking stats from college for a combined 97% on extra points and 85% on field goals.

Verdict: Garibay, simply based on better numbers coming out of college.