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Cowboys news: Dallas salary cap space will increase thanks to the March release of Ezekiel Elliott

The latest news and notes surrounding the Dallas Cowboys.

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys just days away from over $20M in cap space - K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire

What to do with the influx of cash coming in due in part to the Ezekiel Elliott release?

The Dallas Cowboys are on the verge of having a bunch of salary cap space for 2023 and beyond. Right now, Dallas sits at $10.5 million of available space. This is after they signed their entire 2023 draft class ahead of the onset of OTAs. With all of their draft picks inked already, the Cowboys have a sizable amount of wiggle room for any summer signings they are interested in making.

And that amount is going to more than double in about 48 hours. That’s because the Cowboys have yet to receive the cap space from the organizations decision to part ways with running back Ezekiel Elliott, adding another $10.9 million in space for a grand total of $21.4 million.

Elliott was released as a June 1 cut; a favor move each team can do twice each offseason. It doesn’t do much for the club at the time, but rather it allows a player to test the open market while other teams still have free agency dollars at their disposal.

NFL accounting is mostly funny money, with bonus amounts being allocated across multiple years. This allows teams to spend way above the hard cap amount on salaries each spring. A $20 million signing bonus may be paid to a player at the time they were signed, but it is spread out evenly across up to five years so the cap hit isn’t outrageous.

3 post-June 1 roster cuts the Cowboys should monitor - Randy Gurzi, The Landry Hat

Which free agents could the team target as they become flush with cash ready to be spent?

After losing in the second round of the playoffs to the San Francisco 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys got to work this offseason rebuilding their roster. They added another star cornerback in Stephon Gilmore and a No. 2 wideout in Brandin Cooks.

They even added a run-stuffing nose tackle in the 2023 NFL Draft with Mazi Smith. In all, it’s been a successful offseason but they could still add more talent. With that being said, here are three players on the bubble that could be cut after June 1 that Dallas should keep an eye on.

3. K’Lavon Chaisson, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars

When the Cowboys went into the 2020 NFL Draft, there was an expectation they would bring in a pass rusher or a cornerback. One name that kept surfacing was K’Lavon Chaisson out of LSU, who seemed to be a top choice after the Falcons took A.J. Terrell from Clemson.

2. Cedrick Wilson, WR, Miami Dolphins

Adding Brandin Cooks should make a huge impact on the receiving corps this season, but there were no other moves made by the front office. Instead, they’re banking on Michael Gallup returning to health and Jalen Tolbert taking a step forward in year two.

1. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

It was the right move to release Ezekiel Elliott and roll with Tony Pollard this season. Pollard, who is on the franchise tag, finally topped the 1,000-yard mark in 2022 — since he was used properly — and should be even better in 2023. While that’s true, he’s also never been a workhorse for a full season and there’s not a lot of depth behind him.

Tolbert, Fehoko, Houston: Who will emerge as WR4 in 2023? - Shane Taylor, Inside The Star

With an already stacked wide receiver room, the team will have to sort out who they ultimately go with as the fourth wide out ahead of the 2023 regular season.

Dallas isn’t signing Hopkins, so we can forget that before I start this.

So as I looked at the depth chart of the Cowboys for the 100th time this offseason, I thought to myself, who will impress this summer and earn that 4th spot in September?

Well, we have Simi Fehoko, Jalen Tolbert or Dennis Houston.

Those are the current three this team will have to work with as the new season grows near.

Around this time a year ago, I found myself asking who would step up and be the guy behind Lamb until Gallup returned.

It got so bad they had to sign T.Y Hilton, and he immediately became the second-best guy on the team behind Lamb.

Now I wonder who will be the WR4; it makes things feel much better going into 2023.

It is hard to guess right now, and any of the three might need a big training camp to lock in that spot for themselves.

All three have something to prove and probably want that spot in the rotation more than anyone because it is wide open.

Luepke Focused On Being Best Version of Himself - Nick Harris,

This versatile player is someone to keep an eye on in the coming months.

Even at one of the most prolific programs in all of Division I football, North Dakota State fullback Hunter Luepke made a name for himself in his four years for the Bison.

The Spencer, Wis. native quickly became a fan favorite in Fargo with his versatility as a ball-carrier and pass-catcher for one of the top offenses in FCS which led to him being one of the Dallas Cowboys’ first undrafted free agent signings after the NFL Draft last month.

“At NDSU, I kind of played everything and they moved me all over,” Luepke said. “I had to learn the whole offense, I had to know what the o-line was doing, what the quarterback was thinking, what the tight ends and fullbacks were doing. It helped me learn the game of football a little bit more which I think really helped me get to where I am today.”

Luepke has an early understanding of what he has to do in order to make an impact on his new team with a personal process that he is making sure to go through without skipping any steps, beginning with making an impact on special teams.

“Special teams is key,” he said. “If you want to play on a team and if you want to play for a long time, you gotta embrace special teams and it’s something I’m really looking forward to [doing]. I’m trying to be as versatile as possible to help out this team. First things first, I gotta make the squad and I gotta learn the playbook.”

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