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Mailbag: Why Cut Niswander? Hope For Fehoko?


Why release Hunter Niswander? He seemed a capable NFL punter. I get that Bryan Anger will be the punter when the games count but most teams have two legs to get through camp. Surely, Niswander would have a late pick value for a team in need of a punter at the end of training camp. — BRIAN SAMBIRSKY / SPRING, TX

David: I agree with you that most teams want two legs to get them through training camp and the preseason. Maybe the Cowboys thought they could upgrade the talent level with someone younger, or maybe they wanted to give Niswander a chance to catch on with a team that needs a punter. I will say, I think you're overestimating the value of a backup punter that the rest of the league knows you have to cut. This is pretty standard roster churning.

Rob: The other thing I'd add is that kicker Chris Naggar, who signed a futures deal in February, has also done some punting and could provide that extra leg in practice assuming he's still on the roster by training camp.

What's the story on Semi Fehoko, who was supposedly the fastest receiver on the roster? Are the coaches and management keeping his presence "under the radar" or what? — DON FLESHER / VAN ALSTYNE, TX

David: I'm not sure what more you want to hear about him, to be honest? It was always going to be hard for Simi Fehoko to find playing time in such a loaded receiver corps as a rookie, but the fact that he made the roster is a good indicator of how the coaching staff feels about him. He's going to have a big opportunity to make a mark in Year 2. But having said that, the next time an NFL team bases its plans for the future around a fifth-round pick will be the first time. The Cowboys are still probably going to try to upgrade the talent level at receiver in the draft, and they should. But I'm certainly excited to see what kind of strides Simi will make this spring and summer.

Rob: Well, let's see. The Cowboys had one of the best starting trios in the league last year; the fourth receiver, Cedrick Wilson, played so well that he got an $8 million-per-year deal from the Dolphins; and the fifth receiver, Noah Brown, is always guaranteed a spot on the 46 because of special teams. That's an extremely tough climb for a fifth-round draft pick coming in as a rookie. The depth chart is less settled this year, so it looks like there's more opportunity for Simi. That's really all there is to it.

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