Ahead of Week 17, the Dallas Cowboys have decided to make a move on their roster. With offensive tackle Matt Waletzko’s activation window closing, the team decided to elevate the second-year player. In a corresponding move, the Cowboys are releasing veteran linebacker Rashaan Evans.
Cowboys have activated OT Matt Waletzko (shoulder) from injured reserve, a person familiar with the situation said. LB Rashaan Evans was waived to clear space on 53-man roster. Waletzko, who practiced the past three weeks, bolsters depth on O-line.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) December 27, 2023
Evans signed with Dallas’ practice squad after Leighton Vander Esch was placed on injured reserve. After Evans was out of eligible elevations, he was signed to the active roster. The former first-round pick sometimes showed flashes but struggled for playing time with Markquese Bell and Damone Clark getting the snaps.
Evans played in nine games for Dallas and recorded nine tackles. With the Cowboys down another linebacker, the position’s depth is again thin. The team is relatively healthy right now, and head coach Mike McCarthy mentioned that’s why this move was a tough decision. He also mentioned them addressing this situation later in the week, which might mean they could re-sign Evans to the practice squad if he clears waivers.
[UPDATE] It seems this might have something to do with the release of Evans:
Cowboys released LB Rashaan Evans on Wednesday, one day after he was arrested in Frisco for marijuana possession, a Frisco police official said. https://t.co/doSryr99Ie— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) December 27, 2023
Mike McCarthy when asked about the waiving of LB Rashaan Evans: "That's something we'll answer at the end of the week, but these are roster moves and tough moves. We’re a healthy football team and hope it stays this way, but when you get down to this time of year, you have to…— Nicole Hutchison (@nhutchisontv) December 27, 2023
As far as what this move means for Waletzko, he could see some starting snaps in the season’s final game if the Cowboys decide to sit either Tyron Smith or Terence Steele if their playoff position is locked.
Waletzko played three games as a rookie but ended his season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. With 2024 being his third year on the team, the former fifth-round pick must show positive development to find a home on the roster.
With two games left in the season, Waletzko may find that opportunity. Otherwise, the clock will be ticking next year.