In your mind, what will be the toughest decision/position for the Cowboys during final roster cuts? – MIKE S / DALLAS, TX
David: I have no idea what they're going to do with their defensive backs. In most cases, it's normal to see NFL teams keep nine or maybe 10 DBs, but this year I could see them carry as many as 12 or 13. You've got your obvious starters, but how do you balance developmental backups with core special teamers? It's easy for those of us on the outside to get rid of someone like Darian Thompson, but that's a guy John Fassel leaned on last season. And don't forget that three of their draft picks are defensive backs. It's a bit of a mess, and I don't envy the people that have to sort it out.
Rob: I'm with Dave about the DBs. They've got an interesting combination of veterans and young guys with promise, as well as an established player, Malik Hooker, who hasn't gotten to play much but has been very good in his career when healthy. The obvious one is backup quarterback. Cooper Rush and Garrett Gilbert have almost identical preseason stats. Did one separate from the other Sunday? Did one inspire enough confidence to convince the Cowboys not to peruse the waiver wire after final cuts? We'll know for sure in a few days.
Does Ezekiel Elliott restructuring his contract indicate that Dallas might have their eye on a possible upgrade at a certain position or possibly have their eye on a specific player? – ADAM GORDON / MORGANVILLE, NJ
Rob: We probably got a hundred similar Mailbag questions around this time last year when the Cowboys restructured DeMarcus Lawrence's contract to create a few million in room. The Cowboys carried over that space to 2021, knowing they had to re-sign Dak Prescott and knowing the salary cap would shrink because of the pandemic. Sounds like it's most likely a similar plan here, even though the cap level is supposed to rebound some next year. Also, the club always tries to have a little extra space to account for injuries and necessary signings during the season.
David: I don't think so. Teams need a certain amount of cap space to operate during the season, whether it's signing a replacement during the season or churning the roster. The Cowboys also know they'll need space next year for one reason another – whether that's for an extension for a veteran, or maybe if they need to use the franchise tag. Don't get me wrong, they might wind up using some of that money in 2021. But I don't think they made that move with a specific guy in mind.