FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys reached the 53-player limit with Saturday's final cuts, but an NFL roster is never a finished product. On Sunday, the team announced it officially signed quarterback Mark Sanchez and waived Jameill Showers.
More changes are certainly possible in the coming days and weeks, but for now, here's a closer look at the updated roster as Week 1 of the regular season nears:
Quarterback (3): Tony Romo, Dak Prescott, Mark Sanchez – Perhaps the best example of the fluid nature of the roster. Prescott is the expected starter while Romo is out with a fractured bone in his back. Romo is starting out on the active roster and he's expected to return at some point in 2016, though the Cowboys have acknowledged they have considered placing him on the short-term injured reserve list. Such a move would sideline him the first eight weeks of the regular season. Sanchez gives the team an experienced backup; the 29-year-old has 72 career starts with the Jets and Eagles. Kellen Moore (fibula) is on the Reserve/Injured list.
Running Back (6): Ezekiel Elliott, Alfred Morris, Lance Dunbar, Darius Jackson, Keith Smith (fullback), Rod Smith (fullback) – No real surprise the Cowboys went heavy here since running back all along has been considered one of their deepest spots. Dunbar isn't your average tailback, either, with his ability to stretch the field in the passing game. Jackson, a sixth-round pick, performed well enough to earn a spot, though he might have difficulty making the game-day roster week to week. Versatility helped Rod Smith and Keith Smith make the team. Both converted to fullback in the offseason, but both can help on multiple special teams units and pitch in at running back and linebacker, respectively, if depth becomes an issue. Darren McFadden moves to the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list as he recovers from offseason elbow surgery.
Wide Receiver (5): Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Brice Butler, Lucky Whitehead – This is nearly the exact group the Cowboys kept entering last season, with one exception: Butler has replaced Devin Street after a strong preseason. Whitehead's kickoff and punt return skills give him added value, though he has worked hard to become a better all-around receiver. Bryant, Williams and Beasley lead the depth chart once again.
Tight End (3): Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar, Geoff Swaim – Undrafted rookie Austin Traylor made a strong case to join these three on the 53, but ultimately the Cowboys went heavier at running back. James Hanna had knee surgery in August and will start the season on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list.
Offensive Line (8): Tyron Smith, La'el Collins, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, Doug Free, Ronald Leary, Joe Looney, Chaz Green – The dominant starting five is back (Smith, Collins, Frederick, Martin, Free) with Leary as a starting-caliber backup guard. Looney is the backup center with guard experience, and Green is the lone backup tackle with primary experience on the right side.
Defensive Line (8): Tyrone Crawford, Terrell McClain, Maliek Collins, Cedric Thornton, Jack Crawford, David Irving, Benson Mayowa, Charles Tapper– The Cowboys appear a bit light here at the moment, having kept 10 defensive linemen on last year's initial 53-man roster. The tackles are Tyrone Crawford, McClain, Collins and Thornton, with Jack Crawford providing versatility at tackle and end. The rest of the defensive ends are Irving, Mayowa and Tapper, the fourth-round pick who has been sidelined by a back injury the last three weeks. Linebacker Kyle Wilber does have versatility to play end as well. DeMarcus Lawrence moves to the Reserve/Suspended list to serve his four-game NFL suspension. Randy Gregory is on the Reserve/Did Not Report list.
Linebacker (7): Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens, Kyle Wilber, Justin Durant, Andrew Gachkar, Damien Wilson, Mark Nzeocha– Lee once again leads this group as the projected "Will" linebacker with Wilber the starter at "Sam" linebacker last year. Both Hitchens and Durant made starts at "Mike" in preseason. Gachkar has returned to practice following August thumb surgery, and Nzeocha is working his way back from a strained Achilles. Rookie Jaylon Smith (knee) is on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list. Rolando McClain is on the Reserve/Did Not Report list.
Defensive Back (10): Orlando Scandrick, Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Anthony Brown, Dax Swanson, Barry Church, Byron Jones, Jeff Heath, J.J. Wilcox, Kavon Frazier – The Cowboys went heavy in the secondary, too, with five cornerbacks (Scandrick, Carr, Claiborne, Brown, Swanson) and five safeties (Church, Jones, Heath, Wilcox, Frazier). Swanson's spot might be considered a surprise, but he showed a lot of upside as a returner in preseason. Frazier, a sixth-round pick, delivered a strong performance in the preseason finale.
Specialist (3): Dan Bailey, Chris Jones, L.P. Ladouceur – The trio is back together for the fifth straight season.