FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys cleared space on their roster Saturday by making two long-anticipated injury moves.
After weeks of speculation, the team moved Travis Frederick to the non-football illness list and placed Terrance Williams on injured reserve, clearing two places on their active roster heading into their Week 5 trip to Houston.
One of those spaces will be used on David Irving, who officially rejoins the roster after serving a four-game suspension.
There had been uncertainty about both Frederick and Williams throughout the first month of the season, albeit for very different reasons. Frederick was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disease that attacks the nervous system, back during the preseason. The team opted to keep him on the active roster at the outset of the season, reiterating that it was hard to form a timetable for Frederick's return.
On Friday, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said he had a better idea now as opposed to a month ago about what to expect for Frederick.
"We are in better shape today to make a decision about IR for a few weeks than we were when we first learned of this," he said.
Clearly, the conclusion was that it was better to give him time to recover. Putting Frederick on NFI means he'd be eligible to return to the roster in eight weeks. It's far too soon to say if that will happen, but that could conceivably bring him back into the fold with a month remaining in the season.
Williams heads to IR after being limited by a foot injury that slowed him during training camp and the regular season. The veteran receiver has seen a surprisingly small amount of snaps this season, getting onto the field for just 39 plays. He joined the injury report this week, before the Cowboys ultimately decided to shut him down.
With Williams no longer on the roster, the decision to re-sign Brice Butler makes a bit more sense. There had been plenty of questions about why the Cowboys wanted a seventh receiver when they signed Butler two weeks ago. Williams' injury puts the team back at six receivers, although it's worth noting that Butler did not participate in last week's win against Detroit, even when Williams was inactive. Finally seeing some clarity with this receiver corps, it will be interesting to watch Butler's role going forward.
Even with the decision to activate Irving, the Cowboys have one more roster spot to fill – although it sounds like they intend to go into this game against the Texans with just 52 players.
To that end, the team will release newly-signed defensive tackle Christian Ringo from their practice squad. Ringo is in his final year of practice squad eligibility, and NFL rules stipulate that he can't be on the practice squad if there is an open roster spot.
By releasing Ringo, the Cowboys can circumvent that situation. Look for them to fill out their roster when they return from Houston.