Cowboys News: Dallas releases veteran defender, Jalen Tolbert hype continues to grow

Aug 20, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Jalen Tolbert (18) catches a
Aug 20, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Jalen Tolbert (18) catches a / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive end is arguably the deepest position on the Dallas Cowboys roster. It's unclear how many players the Cowboys intend to keep on the 53-man roster, but Micah Parsons, DeMarcus LAwrence, Sam Williams, Dante Fowler and Dorance Armstrong are all locks to make the team.

Luckily for some folks on the roster bubble, Parsons qualifies as a linebacker, which is why we saw Chauncey Golston and Tarrell Basham make the 53-man team last year coming out of training camp and preseason.

While roster cuts aren't for another three months, Dallas kept busy in the housekeeping department before the conclusion of minicamp.

Antonio Callaway was released after he was arrested for driving with a suspended license, and the Cowboys signed Tyron Johnson as his replacement.

The signing of DE Ben Banogu hinted at another corresponding move, and it was veteran Takk McKinley who bit the proverbial bullet.

Cowboys release Takk McKinley, more Jalen Tolbert buzz

The Cowboys signed McKinley to the practice squad in November. Given the depth available and overall health of the DE group, though, the former first-round pick wasn't promoted to the active roster for a single game.

McKinley showed enough at practice to warrant a one-year deal in the offseason, but the Banogu signing made him expendable and releasing him now gives him ample time to find another home before training camp.

In addition to Banogu, the Cowboys have 2023 fourth-round pick Villami Fehoko, and undrafted free agents Tyrus Wheat and Durrell Johnson competing for the final DE spots, though it's expected Fehoko will convert to a three-technique interior defender.

In other Cowboys news, the Jalen Tolbert hype train keeps chugging along. Coming off a disappointing rookie year in which he was a healthy scratch in just as many games he was active, Tolbert was labeled a top performer at OTAs and minicamp.

In fact, Dallas considers Tolbert their most improved player this offseason. The second-year wideout is operating at a different speed and confidence level -- which speaks to how much he got in his own head in year one. His route-running is said to be more polished and he's comfortable lining up at multiple positions.

“He’s playing with more speed and more physicality,” said Cowboys WRs coach Robert Prince. “Yeah, he’s done a tremendous job learning all the spots. ‘Hey JT, go play X.’ He’s totally fine with it. Last year, he wasn’t playing fast and just running the lines on the paper. This year, he is making those lines come to life.”

We'll know more about Tolbert's improvement once the pads come on at training camp and the intensity ramps up, but it's hard not to get excited about his potential for the 2023 season. Again, all Dallas needs is Tolbert to return WR4 value and they'll have one of the best receiver rooms in the league.

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