FRISCO, Texas — The unenviable task of chopping the 90-man roster to only 53 playerswas completed by the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday, but that was just the beginning of their laborious week.
The next task at-hand involved seeing which of the 25 players they opted to waive would … land (more on that in a moment) … in free agency (going unclaimed by the other 31 clubs) and have a chance at joining the 16-man practice squad; and to do a little housekeeping via injured reserve.
To the latter point, they've moved two players to IR:
- Nahshon Wright, CB
- Matt Waletzko, OL
Unlike Josh Ball, who was placed on IR one day prior, Wright and Waletzko will be allowed to return after sitting a minimum of four games. Ball, contrarily, is ineligible to return in 2023.
Corresponding roster moves include two signings to the 53-man roster:
- Trent Sieg, LS
- Chuma Edoga, OL
Both Sieg and Edoga were released, not subject to waivers, on Tuesday to allow for Wright and Waletzko to be carried on the active roster for 24 hours, as required by the league for players who are expected to return at some point during the season.
Speaking of the practice squad in Dallas, it has now been constructed, and it's ripe with names the Cowboys parted ways with one day prior.
- Malik Davis, RB
- Sean McKeon, TE
- Jalen Cropper, WR
- Earl Bostick, OT
- Tyron Johnson, WR
- Brock Hoffman, OL
- Malik Jefferson, LB
- CJ Goodwin, DB
- Sheldrick Redwine, S
- Josh Butler, CB
- Tyrus Wheat, DE
- Princeton Fant, TE
- Durrell Johnson, DE
- Alex Taylor-Prioleau, OL
- Willington Previlon, DT (Buccaneers)
- Sean Harlow, OL (Giants)
Isaiah Land, the undrafted rookie linebacker out of Florida A&M, was claimed by the Indianapolis Colts, marking the sole waiver loss for the Cowboys; at a position that had the least amount of need in Dallas.
The talented pass rusher would've been a nice surplus for defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, but he also would've been challenged to scrape together playing time and would have likely seen more than his fair share of 2023 spent on the weekly inactives list.
The Cowboys claimed no players from the waiver wire, and their practice squad is almost completely filled with names that were on the 90-man roster prior to Tuesday afternoon, the potential addition of Previlon and former Giants' offensive lineman Sean Harlow notwithstanding.
Notable re-signings include Malik Davis (RB insurance), Malik Jefferson (LB depth), C.J. Goodwin (special teams ace), Trent Sieg (resident long snapper) and young talent such as undrafted rookie Jalen Cropper and Josh Butler — the latter having traveled from the USFL.
There's also a return of some offensive line depth via Brock Hoffman and Earl Bostick.
It's key to note that the practice squad can and does change frequently, as players become available from around the league and/or when players are poached outright by other teams — offered to join an active roster for a minimum of three games to leave a team's practice squad.
But, as it stands, the players listed above are who will be available for the Cowboys in both the aspect of development and injury insurance.
Each can be elevated to the gameday roster a maximum of three times, but can only be moved back to the practice squad twice without being risked to waivers or free agency. If elevated the third and final time, they are to remain on the active roster or must be waived/released with the hopes of the player remaining free to sign back to the practice squad.
In other words, the magic number is two, because the third elevation becomes risky business.
It's an eternal game of NFL roster management, but the Cowboys now have a great idea of what their roster will look like as they begin preparing for the New York Giants on Sept. 10.