FRISCO, Texas – Every team in the league has to get to 53, but no team's path to that number looks exactly the same.
It's interesting to think that, all across the NFL over the next few days, 32 different front offices are confronting vastly different obstacles to the same overall goal.
The Cowboys' approach should be obvious to those that have followed the past 40 days of training camp. This is a roster long on defensive bodies but missing depth in a few key spots. The Cowboys had a run of remarkably good health during training camp, but injuries to guys like Neville Gallimore and Rico Dowdle likely have them evaluating their options in spots.
Asked about the process of inquiring about trades at this time of year, it was Dowdle that Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones mentioned specifically.
"Certainly, people can turn on our tape and see where we might be long with some young players and they might be able to play, so, losing Rico was a tough one for us," Jones said. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look into it and see they need a third running back."
As Tuesday's 3 p.m. deadline creeps closer, the Cowboys are likely weighing their options between the trio of young backs on their roster – Ja'Quan Hardy, Brendan Knox and Nick Ralston – or a player from another team. Jones also mentioned the tight end spot, given that second-year veteran Sean McKeon is expected to start the season on injured reserve after spraining his ankle during the second preseason game.
"You lose a McKeon, our third tight end, they say, hey, they may need something there," Jones said. "Obviously we brought in [Jeremy] Sprinkle to bring depth there, but that's just in general that's how those conversations go."
These are the final few pieces of the puzzle that need to be moved into place. It's a good bet the Cowboys' front office has made up its mind about roughly 50 of the 53 players going onto the roster. But there are problem spots, and no two teams are facing the same issues.
Those are the last questions to answer before the roster is set and the regular season can begin.