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12 Cowboys players on the bubble and reasons they should and shouldn’t make the final roster

Some will be kept, some will be let go, but we want to understand why.

Las Vegas Raiders v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys will need to have their roster down to 53 players by the Tuesday, August 29th deadline (4 p.m. EST). Undoubtedly, there will be many discussions regarding the last few spots on the roster as they try to keep a balance of having valuable contributors now and developmental players for later. As we peruse through the players on the bubble, we decided to provide some reasons why they might stick around as well as why they might not.

RB Malik Davis

Why they might keep him: After a good rookie season, Davis looked like he had a chance to be the team’s RB2 behind Tony Pollard. He’s very adequate at a lot of things, including pass catching, pass protection, and contributes on special teams. The running backs ahead of him all bring their own durability concerns and Davis could be another back to give them a safe floor.

Why he might be cut: While Davis has been good for this team, he doesn’t bring any special attributes to the position. Similar players aren’t that hard to find on waivers. The Cowboys may feel that they could cut him, sign him to the practice squad, and just bring him back if needed.

FB Hunter Luepke

Why they might keep him: The Cowboys value versatility and Luepke has that in spades. He can run, he can block, and as we saw firsthand on Saturday, he can also be a receiving tool. The team is also without their short-yardage power back and he can do that as well. Dallas loves to use their players in different ways and he could be another piece to a very flexible offense.

Why he might be cut: If Sean McKeon makes the team, he can easily fill the fullback role if needed, taking away a great deal of Luepke’s value. And with so many other talented pass catchers in this offense, he’s not going to be in line for many targets.

TE Sean McKeon

Why they might keep him: It’s easy to write off a guy like this, but McKeon is a guy who does all the little things. He’s a very able blocker and helps out on special teams. Even last year when they had the trifecta of Dalton Schultz, Jake Ferguson, and Peyton Hendershot, McKeon still found a role on this team, playing in 14% of the offensive snaps across 13 games.

Why he might be cut: The biggest threat to his job is if the Cowboys want to protect Luepke, which very well may happen. The Ferguson/Schoonmaker duo is going to put them in a really good spot, so it’s just going to come down to which player the Cowboys feel more comfortable keeping.

WR Jalen Brooks

Why they might keep him: The team invested a seventh-round pick in him to avoid competing with other teams for priority free agent signings. The Cowboys have a type and he fits it. Combine that with a very impressive training camp, and he’s doing everything expected of him.

Why he might be cut: With the trade for Brandin Cooks and the huge progress of Jalen Tolbert, the Cowboys aren’t hurting for wide receiver depth. It’s unclear what type of everyday role he would have and that could lead to them trying to sneak him on the practice squad.

G T.J. Bass

Why they might keep him: The Cowboys don’t have many true interior linemen on the team. Even their projected starting guards are both former tackles. Bass is a strong player who already looks very comfortable. With a promising camp/preseason and the Cowboys' interior line depth in question, it just makes sense to retain this already good player who also comes with upside.

Why he might be cut: The Cowboys will be keeping some of their more experienced options even if they don’t have the ceiling that Bass does. And, if the team pulls the trigger on acquiring an outside free agent to give them a veteran presence along the line, Bass could get caught up in a numbers game.

EDGE Isaiah Land

Why they might keep him: The undrafted free agent from Florida A&M has had a nice training camp/preseason. He’s been one of the most effective pass rushers in terms of creating pressures and pass rush win rate this entire preseason. The Cowboys might have found a gem here and opt to protect him. And with the contracts of some of their veteran edge rushers expiring soon, it might be wise to keep him around.

Why he might be cut: The team already has so many pass rushers that it’s going to be hard to get snaps for them all. He’d likely be a gameday inactive stash each week and it would be more ideal if they could just stash him on the practice squad.

DT Neville Gallimore

Why they might keep him: A third-round investment back in 2020, Gallimore looked as if he could be an impact player after a solid rookie season. He’s still a solid player and if the Cowboys wanted to utilize more defensive tackles in their game plan, Gallimore could be in the mix.

Why he might be cut: The veteran is not a bad player, he’s just buried behind better ones. With an assortment of defensive ends who can also attack inside, it makes Gallimore’s role smaller and smaller.

LB Jabril Cox

Why they might keep him: With the injury to DeMarvion Overshown the Cowboys are running a little light at linebacker. The third-year former LSU linebacker was thought to be a draft steal back in 2021, and there’s always been a belief that the talent is there.

Why he might be cut: Between an injury in his rookie season and just underwhelming performances, he just hasn’t been able to get things going. The emergence of Devin Harper has pushed him back in the depth chart and the Cowboys have a slew of versatile safeties who can slide down and help fill the void at linebacker should they decide to go short.

CB Kelvin Joseph

Why they might keep him: Joseph was the team’s second-round draft pick just a couple of years ago and the team wants to give him every possible chance to make this roster. They’ve tried him on special teams and they’ve tried him in the slot. Despite an uninspiring career thus far, he’s been playing his best ball this summer so that’s something.

Why he might be cut: The Cowboys have some good pieces in the secondary and if Joseph isn’t a part of it, then the team may be more inclined to use the roster spot on a developmental guy who still offers hope, like rookie Eric Scott Jr. Additionally, Jourdan Lewis is still on this team and would be the team’s backup slot corner behind DaRon Bland, so where does that leave Joseph?

CB Jourdan Lewis

Why they might keep him: Lewis is an experienced corner who plays with a lot of intensity. While he has worked himself into a corner (no pun intended) being solely just a slot guy, he’s still a very reliable slot guy. And as the old saying goes, you can never have too many good corners.

Why he might be cut: If the team felt they had enough bodies with the current cast of characters, Lewis could be a salary cap casualty. With a base salary of $4.5 million, you’d expect him to have a defined role, but with other players like the before-mentioned Joseph and safety/slot corner Israel Mukuamu, the team has much cheaper options available.

CB Josh Butler

Why they might keep him: The rookie UDFA has been impressive with the reps he’s been given and has shown improvement with each new game. Butler is bigger than the previous two corners mentioned and he has shown that he can handle himself on the outside, which is something both Lewis and Joseph have struggled with.

Why he might be cut: He’s still a raw player who doesn’t bring the experience the team needs on the depth chart. With spots already allocated to the main three as well as the rookie Scott Jr., there are just not a lot of spots available. And considering the team is likely to go deep at safety, it’s hard imagining them going deep at corner too.

ST C.J. Goodwin

Why they might keep him: Because they always keep him. Amiright? This time every year we are always looking for reasons to cut Goodwin, but every year he’s back. This team is committed to having a quality special teams unit and the veteran plays a key role in that.

Why he might be cut: As great as he is on special teams, Goodwin offers nothing else to the team. Officially, he’s a corner, but if he’s ever thrown into action on defense, that’s not going to be good. If the Cowboys somehow found a comparable gunner in say, Kelvin Joseph, then maybe they wouldn’t need to waste a roster spot on this one-trick pony.

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