FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys cut their roster down to 53 players on Saturday afternoon, highlighted by the decision to part ways with three former draft picks.
Among the cuts made to meet the NFL's 53-man roster limit, the Cowboys released Ryan Russell, Devin Street and Rico Gathers.
Russell and Street represent the Cowboys' last two fifth-round picks, as they didn't hold a fifth-round selection in 2016. Street was selected No. 146 overall in 2014, and he logged nine receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown in two seasons. Russell was picked 163rd overall in 2015 and only appeared in one game for the team.
Gathers might represent the most interesting name on the list, as the Cowboys drafted him in the sixth round this past spring after an All-American basketball career at Baylor. The 6-foot-7 tight end prospect showed intriguing upside, but he was buried on the depth chart behind the likes of Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar and Geoff Swaim.
As for the rest of the cuts, the Cowboys also released linebacker Derek Akunne, center Jake Brendel, defensive tackle Rodney Coe, cornerback Isaiah Frey, linebacker Brandon Hepburn, quarterback Jerrod Johnson, wide receiver Andy Jones, linebacker Deon King, offensive tackle Ryan Mack, wide receiver Vince Mayle, cornerback Deji Olatoye, defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye, guard Boston Stiverson, tight end Austin Traylor, kicker Matt wile and offensive tackle Bryan Witzmann.
Defensive end Mike McAdoo was also waived/injured after sustaining an injury in the preseason loss to Houston.
Two more big-name players have been removed from the roster, but they were not released. DeMarcus Lawrence has been added to the reserve/suspended list, where he will not count against the Cowboys' active roster during his four-game suspension. He is eligible to return Oct. 3 – the day after the Week 4 game against San Francisco.
Darren McFadden has also been added to the Non-Football Injury list while he continues to recover from his broken elbow. McFadden isn't eligible to return to the active roster until after the Week 6 game against Green Bay.
There had been plenty of speculation that the Cowboys might try to trade the ninth-year veteran, who led the team in rushing with 1,089 yards last year. Instead, McFadden could serve as a useful insurance policy against other injuries to the running back group.
There will be a 24-hour wait, but it's a solid bet that the Cowboys intend to bring several of their roster cuts back as members of the 10-man practice squad. Notable names like Russell, Gathers, Jones, Mayle and Traylor are all eligible for the practice squad if they clear the NFL's waiver system.