IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys added one of their workout invitees to the roster on Tuesday, as they signed rookie tight end Austin Traylor.
The team released rookie long snapper Brandon Hartson to make room for Traylor, who signed after going undrafted out of Wisconsin.
The Cowboys are no strangers to Wisconsin products, given that Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick played there, as did two-year starter at defensive tackle Nick Hayden. Traylor is a bit more under-the-radar, though, given that he was limited by injuries for most of his final season in school.
Traylor has 35 career appearances and 18 starts at tight end to his name, but he fractured his arm early during his senior season with the Badgers and made just seven appearances on the year. He finished the season with 14 receptions for 210 yards and four touchdowns. Traylor returned from his injury in time for the Badgers' Holiday Bowl win against USC, where he had a career performance with three catches for 47 yards and a touchdown.
The Columbus, Ohio, native was one of several undrafted free agents to earn a tryout with the Cowboys during their rookie minicamp two weekends ago. After the three-day stint at Valley Ranch, Traylor returned to Madison, Wis., where he graduated this past Saturday.
It's not unusual for this front office to sign unheralded players – and that does extend to tryout invites, as well. Two years ago, Tyler Patmon received a tryout offer after going undrafted out of Oklahoma State, and he turned it into a two-year stint on the 53-man roster before he was released last December. He is currently with the Miami Dolphins.
Traylor finds himself looking up a loaded depth chart if he hopes to catch on in Dallas. The Cowboys obviously have an All-Pro in Jason Witten, and they re-signed James Hanna to a three-year deal this past spring. Geoff Swaim returns for his second season after he was drafted in the seventh round last spring, and the Cowboys also added an intriguing tight end prospect in basketball All-American Rico Gathers. Gavin Escobar also remains on the roster, though the torn Achilles he suffered last December looks likely to keep him sidelined for the foreseeable future.