IRVING, Texas – Perhaps the biggest surprise about the Cowboys' final roster cuts on Saturday was the lack of surprise.
Dallas cut its 2015 roster down to the league-mandated 53 men by Saturday's 3 p.m. deadline, letting go of 20 players in the process. As usual, it's incredibly likely things will change as the Cowboys examine the waiver wire – not to mention the possibility of trades.
It's worth pointing out that two suspensions will give the Cowboys two extra roster spots to work with for the time being. Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain began their four-game suspensions on Saturday afternoon, and they won't count toward the 53-man roster while they're gone.
Perhaps the most noteworthy item is the decision to release both young quarterbacks, Dustin Vaughan and Jameill Showers. Vaughan got an extended look in the preseason finale, playing all four quarters against Houston, but it wasn't enough to convince the coaching staff to retain him.
Showers, meanwhile, was an intriguing possibility for his abilities as both a special teamer and a quarterback, but his lack of activity on Thursday night seemed to be a telling indicator about his prospects.
The Cowboys also released both of their young running backs in Gus Johnson and Ben Malena, though both players should receive consideration for the practice squad. It is entirely possible the Cowboys address the running back position this weekend, but for the time being they opted to carry the trio of Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar, as well as Tyler Clutts at fullback.
After a month of speculation, the Cowboys decided to keep rookie wide receiver Lucky Whitehead – and no one else. Whitehead will round out a five-man receiver group behind Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley and Devin Street.
Elsewhere, one of the Cowboys' 2015 draft picks was released, as seventh-rounder Laurence Gibson was let go from the offensive line. The rookie looks like a viable practice squad candidate, but he wasn't able to crack an offensive line unit that currently features just eight players. In addition to Gibson, the Cowboys also released backup center Shane McDermott.
Another seventh-round draft pick was released – this time from the defensive line. Ben Gardner was the No. 231 overall pick in 2014 but spent his rookie season on injured reserve. He was part of an intense roster battle at the defensive end position, but he'll be the odd man out in Dallas.
Gardner was the only roster cut on the defensive line, as the Cowboys opted to keep the trio of other bubble players – Davon Coleman, Ken Bishop and Lavar Edwards.
The back end of the Dallas defense didn't see any terribly surprising changes. The Cowboys are currently carrying seven linebackers after releasing Donnie Baggs and Dekorey Johnson. In the secondary, Joel Ross and Tim Scott were released.
Linebacker Ka'Lial Glaud and cornerback Rod Sweeting were both waived/injured.
Dustin Vaughan (West Texas A&M)
Jameill Showers (Texas-El Paso)
Gus Johnson (Stephen F. Austin)
Ben Malena (Texas A&M)
Ray Agnew (Southern Illinois)
Clyde Gates (Abilene Christian)
Nick Harwell (Kansas)
A.J. Jenkins (Illinois)
Laurence Gibson (Virginia Tech)
Shane McDermott (Miami)
John Wetzel (Boston College)
Ronald Patrick (South Carolina)
Ben Gardner (Stanford)
Efe Obada (No College)
Donnie Baggs (Texas A&M)
Dakorey Johnson (Kansas State)
Joel Ross (Appalachian State)
Tim Scott (North Carolina)
Ka'Lial Glaud (Rutgers)
Rod Sweeting (Georgia Tech)
Greg Hardy (Mississippi)
Rolando McClain (Alabama)