FRISCO — After a series of difficult decisions, the Cowboys have a 53-man roster.
It will change in the coming days. Depth at offensive tackle could be added soon. Quarterback Cooper Rush, cornerback CJ Goodwin, kicker Brett Maher and long snapper Jake McQuaide were not included in this initial version, but they are expected to be re-signed in some fashion.
Those re-signings won’t necessarily be to the roster. Maher, for example, is considered likely to join the practice squad and be elevated on Sept. 10 for the Cowboys’ Sept. 11 season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Wide receiver James Washington (foot) and left tackle Tyron Smith (hamstring) will be placed on injured reserve this week.
Without further ado, here is the initial 53. Wide receiver KaVontae Turpin, wide receiver Dennis Houston, tight end Peyton Hendershot and safety Markquese Bell are undrafted players who made their first NFL roster. Overall, the group is comprised of 24 players on offense, 28 on defense, and one specialist.
The competition for backup quarterback ended where it began: Rush is the No. 2, Will Grier the No. 3. If the Cowboys preferred Grier over Rush, they wouldn’t have just exposed Grier to the NFL waiver system as they did Tuesday when cutting him. Rush avoids waivers because he has accrued at least four seasons of league experience. Look for him to rejoin the 53 before long, but the team also will evaluate closely the quarterbacks around the NFL who just because available. Last year, that was Grier.
running back (3)
Ezekiel ElliottTony PollardRico Dowdle
Malik Davis, an undrafted rookie from Florida, gave a valiant effort here. But the Cowboys always favored Dowdle, whose special-teams experience is a separator. Dallas can begin assembling its practice squad Wednesday. Davis will be priority addition if no team claims him on waivers.
wide receiver (8)
CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, Noah Brown, Jalen Tolbert, James Washington, Dennis Houston, Simi Fehoko, KaVontae Turpin
Gallup avoids beginning the season on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list, which would have kept him from practicing or playing during the first four weeks. Lamb and Brown are expected to lead the position group in offensive opportunities against the Buccaneers.
tight end (3)
Dalton SchultzJake FergusonPeyton Hendershot
The Cowboys deserve some credit here for rebuilding the depth at this position. Ferguson and Hendershot cast young Schultz and Blake Jarwin vibes, complementing each other on the field while growing close off of it. Sean McKeon (knee) is a practice-squad candidate.
Offensive line (9)
Tyler Smith, Connor McGovern, Tyler Biadasz, Zack Martin, Terence Steele, Tyron Smith, Matt Farniok, Josh Ball, Matt Waletzko
There is a plan to add depth at tackle. Be it ex-New England Patriots swing tackle Marcus Cannon or someone else, it’s getting time to reveal it.
Defensive line (11)
DeMarcus Lawrence, Neville Gallimore, Osa Odighizuwa, Dorance Armstrong, Dante Fowler Jr., Chauncey Golston, Sam Williams, Quinton Bohanna, Trysten Hill, Tarell Basham, John Ridgeway
The Cowboys opted to go heavy and carry 11. Preserving that number all season is not viable, but neither is health. The team is better stocked at a position group hit especially hard by injury in 2021. Credit Hill and Basham for a strong training camp that earned staying power.
Micah Parsons, Leighton Vander Esch, Anthony Barr, Jabril Cox, Luke Gifford, Devin Harper
A well-balanced group between varied skill sets, youth and experience, defense and special teams
Trevon Diggs, Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, DaRon Bland, Kelvin Joseph, Nahshon Wright
Little deliberation was probably required here, but Joseph needs to show the Cowboys more. Bland, a rookie fifth-round pick, has been the better cornerback. Wright has grown a lot since last season, earning the opportunity to develop further.
Jayron Kearse, Malik Hooker, Donovan Wilson, Markquese Bell, Israel Mukuamu
If Tyler Coyle clears waivers Wednesday and joins the Cowboys’ practice squad, folks inside Ford Center at The Star might celebrate if not collapsed from shock. Coyle should attract ample interest from safety-needy teams where his skillset as someone who plays nickel cornerback and contributes on special teams wo n’t become lost in a crowd. The Cowboys were simply too deep here.
The Pro Bowler might be lonely at practice Wednesday without a long snap to catch, kicker for whom to hold or elite gunner to chase down his punts. But Maher, McQuaide and Goodwin should keep him company soon.
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