Cut down day has come and gone leaving fifty-three men as part of the 2014 Dallas Cowboys. While this should be a time for those who did make the team to celebrate, simply making the cut, especially for a team as talent poor at certain positions as the Cowboys, may not actually mean you will have a roster spot. Dallas is certainly expected to scan the waiver wire hard over the next twenty-four hours and see if any other’s teams scraps could fill positions of need here and raise that level of talent.
In order to do so, that would of course mean some other people who did not find their name on the list of the unwanted will be getting the dreaded call to turn in their play books as well. Before we shopping through the land of misfit toys, let’s examine just who might be asked to go talk to Coach Jason Garrett tomorrow.
John Wetzel / Darrion Weems
While both players are young and developmental, neither one did anything this preseason to deserve a roster spot. Wetzel’s play was very up and down and the last time he was on the field was probably the lowest of that down. That is, of course, more than Weems can say for himself as he saw zero time on the field this offseason dealing with an injury. The Cowboys elected to keep nine offensive lineman, but will likely only dress seven during game days. This certainly seems like one area that either Wetzel or Weems or possibly both and removed in order to add a better player at a different position that is more desperate for help.
Ahmad Dixon / Jemea Thomas
Dixon and Thomas should probably send Jakar Hamilton a thank you card for missing his scheduled drug test appointment, thereby earning himself a nice little four week vacation from football. Had that not happened, it is likely neither would be on this team going into the weekend. Dixon plays without fear but his reckless abandon also draws the ire of the coaching staff as well as the attention of the league office when it comes to fines and discipline. Thomas was literally signed less than a week ago and probably has not even practiced with the team. While the team was apparently high on him during this year’s draft, that does not mean that he should be looking around to buy a house in the Dallas-Fort Worth area just yet.
I am quite shocked that the Cowboys went with three quarterbacks on the initial roster release. I get the feeling that they are up to something here. It is quite possible that the Cowboys wanted to delay cutting Vaughan in order to make it easier for them to clear him through the next set of waivers, thereby making it easier for them to stash him on the practice squad all year. The worst case scenario that would lead to him seeing action on the field in 2014 in games that matter is not even one I want to think about, let alone discuss. Also, the fact that he would literally get no reps in practices each week would make it almost counterproductive to the developmental process. You can only learn so much by just sitting around listening. There comes a point where you must have opportunities to apply what you are learning. Those opportunities do not come during the season.
Clearly they do not play the same position but I am grouping them together because I do believe that these two are the last two guys who would be cut, but still could be. The Cowboys clearly want a fullback on the roster to help provide a power running identity that they have sorely lacked for what feels like eons. I’m just not convinced that Clutts is the guy that they want for a whole year doing that duty. He was the winner of this spot almost by default as there was little competition in camp, however better guys were cut (see Williams, Ryan for example) in order to afford him a roster spot. As for Hayden, he not only has the addition of Josh Brent looming over his head but also he must be looking at some the names that were released by other squads and wondering if his carriage is about to turn back into a pumpkin.
Speaking of the players that were released yesterday, I spent some time looking at each of the other 31 team’s roster moves and found some intriguing options that Dallas could look to bring in. The defensive line, possibly the poorest of all positions on this team, could find a boost by looking at possible options such as Kevin Vickerson, formerly of the Broncos, Jerel Worthy, who was a second round pick by the Packers in 2012, Israel Idonije, who posted 21.5 sacks in three years under DC Rod Marinelli in Chicago and, of course, Michael Sam. Vickerson and Idonije are obviously older guys which is what the Cowboys are trying to move away from, but at least they would be cheaper older guys. Worthy and Sam would both be upgrades over Hayden. LB Marcus Benard (14 sacks in 37 games) and CB Kelvin Hayden (12 career interceptions / four forced fumbles) also could be additions that would certainly improve the depth on this team.
One thing is almost certain… the fifty-three guys that will prepare for San Francisco one week for now are probably not the fifty-three who made it through Saturday as Dallas Cowboys.