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Cowboys news: Cowboys set their initial 53-man roster with changes likely still to come

Your Wednesday edition of news on America’s Team.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

ICYMI:Cowboys roster cuts 2022: Dallas initial 53-man roster officially set - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys

The initial 53-man roster is set.

Tuesday was an important checkpoint as the NFL regular season gets set to kick off. As of 4pm ET every single team has to be down to 53 players on their roster. It is important to note that these are “initial” 53-man rosters and that there will be a few changes happening across the league over the next day or so. This, of course, means that things will change a bit with the Dallas Cowboys, but we do have an initial group to take a look at.

We tracked all of the roster cuts that the Cowboys made in the lead-up to the deadline and now have 53 names to take a look at based on the process of elimination. The team has yet to formally announce things, but this appears to be the initial Dallas Cowboys 53-man roster.

Breaking Down Cowboys’ 53-Man Roster ... For Now - Patrik Walker, DallasCowboys.com

Diving into Dallas’ initial 53, and taking a look at what positions still could be in for some change.

Running back: Much to the surprise of no one, the RB room is owned by Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard again in 2022, but all eyes were on the battle for RB3 heading into training camp. It was one that got exceedingly interesting thanks to the health of Rico Dowdle clashing with the emergence of undrafted rookie Malik Davis in what became one of the best position clashes in camp this summer.

Dowdle gets the nod during the cutdown to 53 players though and, while it never truly felt as if he was ever in jeopardy of losing his seat, Davis made a great case for why the Cowboys should consider carrying four running backs on the roster - it being entirely unlikely he'd survive waivers. It was a risk they opted to take, however, and Dowdle must now ready himself for what is projected to be a lot of usage as RB3 in 2022.

Tight end: Sean McKeon entered last season with a lot of promise that was derailed by injury but, now healthy, he presented another tantalizing receiving option for Prescott. That was before the team used a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on Jake Ferguson and then circled back to sign Peyton Hendershot in undrafted free agency. The former has a chance to challenge Dalton Schultz for the future at TE1, sure, but McKeon needed to keep Hendershot at bay this summer.

Jones: Gallup Plays If Super Bowl Was On Sept. 11 - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys.com

It looks like we may see Michael Gallup sooner than we thought.

About a month ago, Gallup told reporters back in Oxnard, Calif. that Week 1 against the Bucs was not realistic. And while that seems to be the case, his actual return doesn't appear to be too far off. Gallup suffered a torn ACL on Jan. 2, late last season against the Cardinals. He had surgery in February and has hit "every bench mark" in his return

The Cowboys will make a statement – one way or another – about Gallup's status later on Tuesday at the 3 p.m. deadline for cuts. If Gallup is on the roster, that means they believe he can return some time in the first four games.

Since he went to PUP at the start of camp, Gallup is eligible to remain on PUP (Physically Unable to Perform), which would not count on the roster, but keeps him out for the first four games. Jones has indicated last week that he doesn't foresee Gallup going on PUP.

Cowboys, Buccaneers search for answers on offensive line ahead of season opener - Calvin Watkins, Dallas Morning News

Both offensive lines are going to be at the center of conversation before this Week 1 matchup.

The Cowboys haven’t decided who will start at left tackle with Tyron Smith recovering from hamstring tendon surgery. Tyler Smith, drafted with the projection that he’d start at left tackle whenever Tyron Smith departs for good, is supposed to start at left guard in the interim. However, Mike McCarthy said last week Tyler Smith couldn’t beat out Connor McGovern for the starting gig at left guard. So now, with Tyron Smith in recovery, Tyler Smith could become the starting left tackle in Week 1 with a projected eight practices between now and the opener.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys’ opponent in that opener, the Buccaneers, are dealing with their own offensive line crisis. The Bucs lost centers Robert Hainsey (ankle) and Nick Leverett (shoulder) in the preseason finale on Saturday.

Coach Todd Bowles lost Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen on the second day of training camp practice in July and he’s been shuffling between Hainsey and Leverett since to see who starts. With the start of the regular season two weeks away, he’s awaiting MRI results. When the season begins, the Bucs will have three new starters along the offensive line for Week 1. Can you imagine if the Cowboys were trying to start three new offensive linemen in a season opener?

Gone Today, Back Tomorrow: Some Cowboys Cuts are Only Temporary - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

It may have been a temporary goodbye for a couple of players who were cut on Tuesday.

That’s why players who stand to miss several regular-season games, such as OT Tyron Smith or WR James Washington, have not yet been placed on IR. They will be carried through the deadline on the 53-man roster but soon hit the reserve list, likely within the next 24 hours.

To facilitate this move, Dallas has had to cut some players whom they have no intention of going without this season. These are guys who weren’t subject to waivers and likely have handshake deals with the front office to not sign elsewhere, confident that they’ll resume their jobs with the Cowboys shortly.

QB Cooper Rush, K Brett Maher, LS Jake McQuaide, and special teams ace C.J. Goodwin are among the veterans who’ve been released today but won’t be gone long. Their temporary absences will allow for Smith, Washington, and others such as DT John Ridgeway or CB Kelvin Joseph to be moved to IR with the hope of still playing in 2022.

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