The Dallas Cowboys created a news frenzy Friday night when they traded a future fourth-round draft pick to the San Francisco 49ers for 2021 third-overall pick Trey Lance. It came as a surprise for multiple reasons. For starters, the Cowboys already have a franchise quarterback in Dak Prescott, so what are their intentions with a player like Lance? Are they hoping he can develop into a viable backup quarterback or do they have other plans? Second, who are the guys running the front office and what have they done with the “we like our guys” Joneses? The organization has been especially active this offseason and it has given us all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings inside.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. With the addition of Lance, the Cowboys will be carrying three quarterbacks on the roster this season, and as you can already guess, one of them will not be Will Grier. The commitment to Lance gives them three quarterbacks and allows the team to take advantage of the new emergency quarterback rule. In short, Lance will count against the team’s 53-man roster, but will not count against their 46-man active roster. Lance will be made inactive but will be the team’s designated emergency quarterback, meaning he will be allowed to enter the game if both Prescott and Cooper Rush get hurt.
The need for them to have to resort to a third QB may not seem that likely, but if they get hit with some bad luck, they’ll have one. The more interesting part of this equation is now there will be one less roster spot available come final cutdowns, leaving someone out in the cold. Who might that player be? Here are three players who could be in jeopardy of not making the team after the Lance trade.
With the substandard play of Brock Hoffman, the door has been opened for undrafted free agent T.J. Bass to make the team. The Oregon guard has had a nice camp and put some nice reps on tape. He’s played strong, moved well, and has come out on the winning team more times than not against his competition in preseason action. He’s even seen some first-team reps with Zack Martin’s workload being limited.
It’s feasible to believe that Bass may have slid ahead of Hoffman on the offensive line depth chart, but for Bass to make the team, it would require the Cowboys to keep 10 offensive linemen. They might still do that, but with one less roster spot, they may choose to keep only nine and try to sneak Bass on the practice squad.
The Cowboys are absolutely loaded at safety as they not only have three strong starters, but also three intriguing young reserves in Israel Mukuamu, Markquese Bell, and Juanyeh Thomas. Mukuamu and Bell are the incumbents as they both made the cut last year, but Thomas has had a really good training camp and preseason.
Thomas does have an outside track to make the team if the team decides to go deep at safety and hang on to all their developmental guys. And with the recent injury to DeMarvion Overshown, the team can use the safety surplus to assist at linebacker as they love to utilize hybrid players. This may be a plausible option, but with one less roster spot to play with it might be hard to justify keeping six safeties on the roster.
Everyone’s special teams ace always finds his way on the team even though he offers very little defensively. In fact, Goodwin hasn’t played a single defensive snap in each of the last two seasons. Zilch. Nada. But that’s okay, but he’s not on this roster for his cornerback skills, but rather for him being the team’s top gunner.
The veteran special team is now 33 years old and it just feels like his big plays in the kicking game are few and far between. Does that mean he’s no longer a valuable asset? Absolutely not, but with limited roster space, can the team still afford to keep this one-trick pony around just for special teams? Additionally, 22-year-old Kelvin Joseph has shown some improvement and may be a usable depth piece at corner. Joseph is also a player who could move in on Goodwin’s role on special teams and allow the team to kill two birds with one corner.