FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys have already started shedding salary, just a few days after the NFL draft.
The team released three-year starter Antwaun Woods on Wednesday morning, taking his $2.1 million salary off the books in the process. The drafting of two defensive tackles, Osa Odighizua and Quinton Bohanna, over the weekend likely contributed to Woods being a cap casualty.
The decision emphasizes the bottom line nature of the NFL – particularly for players that don't carry a high cap figure.
Woods broke onto the scene over the summer in 2018, when he rose from being an unknown, undrafted free agent to making the 53-man roster. Despite being on the bottom of the depth chart at the outset of that year's training camp, Woods would go on to start 15 games for the 2018 team that reached the divisional round of the playoffs.
All told, Woods appeared in 39 games for the Cowboys, making 32 starts. He was retained for the 2020 season as an exclusive rights free agent, by nature of his undrafted status. His 2021 contract was his largest to date, as the Cowboys again re-signed him as a restricted free agent on a $2.1 million price tag.
With that added money comes added attention, however, as the Cowboys have readily acknowledged that they're seeking to replace some veteran salaries on their roster. Asked Monday if he thought it was possible that all 11 of this year's draft picks could make the 53-man roster, team chief operating officer Stephen Jones referenced the benefit that could have on the cap.
"That would be so welcome with our salary cap situation," he said.
Releasing Woods still leaves plenty of names on the defensive tackle depth chart. Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore are the two incumbents, with free agent signees Brent Urban and Carlos Watkins joining them. The rookie duo of Odighizua and Bohanna round things out.
Don't be surprised if Woods is just the first of several. In addition to dumping salary, the Cowboys are currently over the league's 90-man roster limit. So more roster tinkering is likely on the way.