3 players Cowboys will regret leaving off 53-man roster

  • A grizzled vet comes up short 
  • Productive UDFA gets cut 
  • Budding young cornerback gets dealt
Dallas Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland (26) and teammate cornerback Kelvin Joseph (1) run down the
Dallas Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland (26) and teammate cornerback Kelvin Joseph (1) run down the / Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY
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If the last week taught Dallas Cowboys fans anything, it's to expect the unexpected. Did anyone predict the team sending a fourth-round pick to the 49ers for Trey Lance? The move came out of nowhere and really set the stage for the most chaotic 48 hours of the NFL offseason: the 53-man roster deadline.

With one of the most stacked rosters in the league, the Cowboys were always going to release players who would otherwise have no trouble making the 53-man roster on another team. They parted with multiple players from their 2021 draft class, which was expected, but also cut bait with some more recent draft picks.

It's impossible to project if the Cowboys' decisions will pan out down the line -- or even during the upcoming season -- but the roster crunch opens the door for all kinds of speculation and conjecture.

With that, here are some players Dallas will regret leaving off the final roster.

3. Sean McKeon, TE

A number of Cowboys talking heads expected the team to keep four tight ends. With McKeon's release, they'll roll with Jake Ferguson, rookie Luke Schoonmaker and Peyton Hendershot, who may or may not have been saved by promising rookie John Stephens Jr.'s season-ending ACL injury.

Stephen's (likely) inclusion on the 53 would have opened the door for McKeon to make the team given his versatility as a blocker.

It seems as though Dallas' coaching staff is content moving forward Ferguson, Schoonmaker and Hendershot, each of whom can handle their own blocking, but we can't help but feel that the Trey Lance deal cost McKeon a roster spot.

Per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, there was a lot of "back-and-forth and desire" to keep McKeon on the team, though it ultimately became clear there was room for only three tight ends.

If the Lance trade doesn't happen, it stands to reason that McKeon, a 2020 undrafted free agent, would have snuck onto the initial 53-man roster.

Hopefully, fan favorite Hunter Luepke's ability to block helps offset the loss of McKeon, but Luepke doesn't figure to line up at tight end all that much, making the decision to axe McKeon all the more confusing.