The Dallas Cowboys have completed the biggest task leading up to the regular season in setting their initial 53-man roster. The most hectic, the signing of the practice squad in the free-for-all yesterday, is also done. What they face now are smaller tasks. However, those tasks may be even more difficult.
Some, of course, were planned. After all of the players released by the Cowboys cleared waivers, the team started signing players to the practice squad. There was a bit of surprise when the elected to bring Cooper Rush, Will Grier, and Brett Maher to the PS. That leaves them with only Dak Prescott on the 53-man roster and no kicker. Apparently the team is looking to take advantage of the provision that allows them to call up two players from the PS each week, with a limit of three weeks they can do that. This allows them to go at least a couple of weeks utilizing those two spots elsewhere. It is a nice bit of creativity.
There was more work to be done. Tyron Smith and James Washington went to IR later, and that allowed the team to bring back long-snapper Jake McQuaide and special teams stalwart C.J. Goodwin. It is worth noting that left a clear imbalance between the two sides of the roster. After the IR moves, they only had 22 offensive players compared to 28 defensive, even counting Goodwin with the specialists rather than as a cornerback. At first glance, it would seem obvious that they will draw down the defense to get things more in balance.
However, while they seem light on the offensive side of the ball, the possible releases on defense seem more difficult. There is frankly a talent imbalance as well. Whoever you release on defense is likely to be a more valuable player. But if you consider needs, there are glaring ones on offense that should be addressed by bringing in outside talent.
The obvious ones are on the offensive line. The initial 53-man roster has a rookie who is expected to start at left tackle after not practicing that position during training camp, a projected left guard who couldn’t keep that job when he played it last year, a center that leaves many underwhelmed, and a right tackle who should have been the swing tackle. Only Zack Martin is a known, excellent quantity. Additionally, the backup tackles are a problem. Josh Ball was just not good in preseason games, which was often the case in practices as well. Matt Waletzko showed some promise, but missed most of camp and preseason with an injury. They really need to bring in someone who gives them more insurance at tackle than those two provide.
We discussed this idea in larger detail on the latest episode of Ryled Up on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Make sure to subscribe to our network wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss any of our shows! Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
Then there is the depth in the interior of the offensive line, which initially is just Matt Farniok. Releasing Alec Lindstrom would seem to signal that they intend to address that one from outside the organization, but with Stephen Jones you never know. The offensive line was the biggest issue the team faced from the beginning of the offseason. It is more than a little alarming they did so little to fix things.
There are a bunch of available options now that other teams have made their cuts, but Dallas is now competing with 31 other teams for those players. The parsimonious approach to free agency has been a self-imposed limitation that has been instrumental in putting them in this position. Another bit of evidence of how they seem to be slow rolling things is that the team did not make a single successful waiver claim, although their late position in the order made that more difficult.
However, things are happening.
Veteran offensive tackle Jason Peters is scheduled to visit with the Cowboys, according to sources. Peters, 40, started 15 games last year with the Chicago Bears.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) August 31, 2022
This would be a big-name signing. We are very familiar with Peters from his years playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, but this is one case where we won’t hold that against him. We still have to see if anything comes of this, but it would go a long way to assuaging our concerns. It could conceivably let them put Tyler Smith back at left guard, helping the depth on the interior of the line by moving Connor McGovern back to a backup role. There could even be the idea of Peters starting at right tackle and making Steele the swing tackle. Until we find out how this all goes, we can only speculate.
In any case, signing Peters would be the kind of good surprise we have hoped for. It is part of making the last adjustments and adds to the roster. It’s that time of year, after all.