FRISCO - The Dallas Cowboys continue to be newsmakers when it comes to roster-building. Updated by the minute, our Dallas Cowboys 2021 NFL Transaction Tracker: News and views on the roster-building effort.
SEPT 13: COVID MOVES The good news on Monday is that the Cowboys are activating All-Pro guard Zack Martin (along with backup lineman Brandon Knight) from the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
The bad news? Randy Gregory is moving from the roster and has been added to COVID list, which puts in jeopardy his status for Sunday's game at the Chargers.
In another roster move, Michael Gallup (calf) has been shifted to injured reserve.
SEPT 11 New Orleans has released Jeff Heath, the former Dallas Cowboys starting safety and special-teams standout.
Heath signed with New Orleans in mid-August after having signed a big-money deal the season before with the Raiders, but Las Vegas released him in May.
Heath played in 13 games with five starts for Las Vegas, recording three interceptions and four passes defensed. In his thank three seasons in Dallas, Heath, 30 started 44 games.
SEPT 10: COLLINS SUSPENDED Offensive lineman La'el Collins has been suspended five games without pay for Violation of NFL Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse, per a league source.
Collins, who missed all of last season with a hip injury, returned to the field in Thursday night's season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With Collins out, Ty Nsekhe or Terence Steele will be next in line for reps at the right tackle position, though it could be argued that Dallas should kick out Zack Martin (the All-Pro guard who missed Week 1 due to COVID) out to tackle.
SEPT 10: GALLUP HURT The Cowboys didn’t just lose a game in their opener on Thursday night at Tampa Bay - they also lost wide receiver Michael Gallup for what might be a month.
The Dallas Morning News is first to report that Gallup sustained an injury to his calf during the 31-29 loss at the Buccaneers, and is now expected to miss three-to-five weeks.
Gallup, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, had four catches for 36 yards in the game for the Dak Prescott-led Cowboys.
Dallas has great star power at the position with Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. Cedrick Wilson will be next-man-up for Dallas.
SEPT 6: PRACTICE-SQUADDER ADDED The Cowboys on Monday signed former TCU offensive tackle Aviante Collins to the practice squad. The 6-4, 290-pound Collins, 28, spent training camp with Vikings.
SEPT 5: ANGER BACK The Cowboys have signed punter Bryan Anger back the 53-man roster ahead of Sunday's practice, as was always the plan - though him replacing All-Pro guard Zack Martin wasn’t exactly the vision.
Martin and fellow offensive lineman Brandon Knight on Sunday moved to the Reserve/COVID-19 list, opening spots for guard Connor Williams to be activated from the COVID list and for Anger - a veteran NFL punter in his first season in Dallas - to re-join the club.
SEPT 3: COWBOYS QB TO PATRIOTS So they don't have Cam Newton anymore. And Mac Jones is the only healthy quarterback on the roster. So along comes former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Garrett Gilbert to the rescue!
Well, actually, to thepractice squad.
The Cowboys released Gilbert on Tuesday prior to the NFL cutdown deadline, despite the fact that Dallas spent the last six months committed to the idea of Gilbert - who started one game for the Cowboys in 2020, completing 55.3 percent of his passes for 243 yards, a touchdown and an interception in a loss to Pittsburgh - as the "savior'' backup QB to Dak Prescott.
Strangely, in a snap of the fingers this summer, Dallas changed its mind, away from Gilbert and to Cooper Rush ... only to then add Panthers ex Will Grier this week to compete with Rush.
This will be Gilbert’s second stint with the Patriots, as the much-traveled journeyman last played for New England in 2015.
SEPT 1 RB COMING The Dallas Cowboys are set at the top of their depth chart with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard at running back. But they've been seeking a third runner who can also play special teams and they've found one in the just-released Corey Clement, who was let go by the New York Giants this week.
The 5-10, 220-pound Clement, 26, played at Wisconsin but was undrafted in 2017 before becoming a contributor on the Eagles' Super Bowl team that year. He played three seasons in Philly and was New York's leading rusher in preseason.
SEPT 1: DiNUCCI STAYING The Cowboys are building their practice squad - and Ben DiNucci is going nowhere.
And we mean that in the nicest way.
The Cowboys are bringing the favorite of coach Mike McCarthy back into the building as part of the 16-man squad, which so far we know will also feature: safety Darian Thompson, running back JaQuan Hardy, defensive lineman DT Austin Faoliu, fullback Nick Ralston, offensive linemen Braylon Jones, Isaac Alarcon, receivers Brandon Smith, Osirus Mitchell and defensive backs Kyron Brown and Deante Burton.
SEPT 1: A NEW QB: The Dallas Cowboys added another potential back up QB to the mix on Tuesday morning, claiming for Carolina Panther Will Grier off of waivers.
Standing 6-2 and weighing 200 pounds, Grier is a former pupil of Garrett Nussmeier during his college days at Florida, and has two NFL starts under his belt.
AUG 31: 'FINAL 53': Of course, it's not really "final.'' But to get to the Tuesday deadline, the moves are here:
Passed Physical, Counts Towards 53
59 Chauncey Golston DE 6-5 277 23 R Iowa D3b-'21
Revert to Reserve/PUP
72 Trysten Hill DT 6-3 300 23 3 Central Florida D2-'19
Revert to Reserve/NFI
15 T.J. Vasher WR 6-6 210 23 R Texas Tech UDFA-'21
85 Noah Brown WR 6-2 215 25 5 Ohio State D7b-'17
3 Garrett Gilbert QB 6-4 228 30 4 Southern Methodist PS(Cle)-'20
23 Darian Thompson S 6-2 210 27 6 Boise State FA-'18
33 Deante Burton CB 6-2 205 27 4 Kansas State PS(Ind)-'19
44 Jake McQuaide LS 6-2 238 34 11 Ohio State UFA(LAR)-'21
67 Eric Smith T 6-6 305 25 4 Virginia FA-'20
87 Jeremy Sprinkle TE 6-5 257 27 5 Arkansas UFA(Was)-'21
99 Justin Hamilton DT 6-2 315 28 4 Louisiana FA-'20
6 Johnnie Dixon WR 5-11 200 26 1 Ohio State FA-'21
7 Ben DiNucci QB 6-2 222 24 2 James Madison D7-'20
14 Osirus Mitchell WR 6-5 210 23 R Mississippi State UDFA-'21
16 Reggie Davis WR 6-0 163 25 1 Georgia FA-'21
18 Aaron Parker WR 6-2 210 23 1 Rhode Island UDFA-'20
25 Steven Parker S 6-1 205 25 3 Oklahoma FA-'20
36 Brenden Knox RB 5-11 223 22 R Marshall UDFA-'21
37 JaQuan Hardy RB 5-8 215 23 R Tiffin UDFA-'21
39 Tyler Coyle S 6-1 210 22 R Purdue UDFA-'21
46 Nick Ralston FB 6-0 245 24 R Louisiana UDFA-'21
47 Nick Eubanks TE 6-4 255 24 R Michigan UDFA-'21
49 Artayvious Lynn TE 6-5 255 25 R TCU UDFA-'21
58 Austin Faoliu DE 6-3 295 22 R Oregon UDFA-'21
60 Isaac Alarcón T 6-6 318 23 1 Monterrey Tech IPP-'20
62 Braylon Jones C 6-3 310 23 R Houston UDFA-'21
80 Brandon Smith WR 6-1 215 22 R Iowa UDFA-'21
97 Ron'Dell Carter DE 6-3 270 24 2 James Madison W(Ind)-'20
AUG 31: COWBOYS SO-FAR CUTS: Here's the list as of noontime Tuesday: Receivers Brandon Smith, Johnnie Dixon and Osirus Mitchell, running backs JaQuan Hardy and Brenden Knox, offensive linemen Eric Smith and Braylon Jones, defensive lineman Ron'Dell Carter and Austin Faoliu, cornerback Deante Burton, safeties Darian Thompson and Tyler Coyle, and QBs Garrett Gilbert and Ben Dinucci.
AUG 31: CAM NEWTON RELEASED - The New England Patriots have cut quarterback Cam Newton, surprisingly commencing the Mac Jones era. This will start the "Cam Newton as a backup" rumors all over the league, including Dallas. The Cowboys cut Garrett Gilbert, settling on Cooper Rush as No. 2 behind Dak Prescott. Jones, meanwhile, will be the first rookie to start for the Patriots since Drew Bledsoe in 1993, and his first opponent will be former Alabama teammate Tua Tagovailoa, now of the Miami Dolphins.
AUG 30: 2 TRADES? On the day before Tuesday’s NFL cutdown to 53, our buddy Jeff Cavanaugh has a “rumor” that sounds more like fact: "If the Cowboys can find a taker,” he writes on Twitter, “you might hear trades of Brandon Knight/Bradlee Anae …”
Knight is a backup offensive lineman who the previous coaching staff had a fondness for. Anae was drafted a year ago in the fifth and has flashed this summer, but is trying to get snaps as part of a deep group.
AUG 27: SAINTS TO DFW The New Orleans Saints canceled their weekend preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals due to the approach of Hurricane Ida, and now Dallas Cowboys officials tell us, the Saints are evacuating the city and moving to AT&T Stadium in Arlington for workouts.
The Saints plan to practice at the Cowboys’ home stadium from today through Wednesday. The Cowboys will of course occupy the building on Sunday for their preseason finale against Jacksonville.
AUG 25: 2 MORE The Cowboys on Wednesday added two starters, safety Damontae Kazee and guard Connor Williams, to their COVID protocol list.
Meanwhile, safety Donovan Wilson (groin) and cornerback Trevon Diggs (non-COVID-related illness) are likely unavailable for today’s practice here inside The Star.
AUG 25: RAMS TRADE Are running backs interchangeable? Not important? The Patriots and Rams are about to find out.
The Patriots selected Michel with the 31st overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Since then, 2,292 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also scored New England's only touchdown in their 13-3 win over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
Michel could be an instant contributor in Los Angeles. Cam Akers is out for the season and Darrell Henderson is dealing with a thumb sprain.
The Patriots generally think they can "get by'' at running back. The Rams seem to prioritize the spot. And of course, the Cowboys pay big there with Ezekiel Elliott.
Which philosophy is right? The one employed by the team who wins the most games.
AUG 23: 3 MORE COWBOYS IN COVID PROTOCOL The Cowboys on Monday revealed the status of receiver CeeDee Lamb, safety Malik Hooker and defensive back Israel Mukuamu, all of whom have been added to COVID-19 protocol.
On Saturday, before the preseason loss to Houston, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and defensive lineman Carlos Watkins were sent home from AT&T Stadium and put in COVID protocol.
For all the potential negativity about the issue, Tuesday is NFL cutdown day, and now Dallas must remove just one player from the active roster to get to the mandated 80-man roster.
Additionally, they have some scheduling juggling to do. Coach Mike McCarthy said the Cowboys conducted virtual meetings on Sunday and Monday, with what sounds like a tentative plan to return to the field for practice here at The Star on Tuesday.
“We’re just being cautious and want to make sure that we contain this outbreak and just be smart with that,'' he said.
AUG 23: TACO CUT Kansas City announced five cuts on Monday as they got down to the 80-man roster for Tuesday’s deadline - and one of them is former Cowboys first-rounder Taco Charlton.
Charlton was Dallas' top pick in 2017 but moved onto Miami and then was signed by the Chiefs in 2020, and posted seven tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble in seven games before a broken ankle ended his season.
Said coach Andy Reid of the move: “I hope he hooks on somewhere.''
Wrote Taco on Twitter: “ChiefsKingdom, Thank you for embracing me.''
Meanwhile, another former Cowboy (for a minute) Everson Griffen has re-signed in Minnesota, where he starred for a decade before falling out of favor with the organization last spring.
AUG 21: QUINN AND WATKINS OUT Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and defensive lineman Carlos Watkins are not in attendance at AT&T Stadium for tonight’s preseason game against Houston “out of an abundance of caution under the guidelines of the NFL’s COVID-related protocols,” according to the team. Both will be medically evaluated further on Sunday.
Top defensive assistant Joe Whitt is serving in the coordinator's role tonight.
AUG 20: ON TANK, AMARI, DAK, ZEKE AND THE O-LINE VS. TEXANS Houston is at Dallas in a preseason game on Saturday and via Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy, here's the notable "who's in's'' and "who's out's'' ...
IN - Amari Cooper (for about 10 plays, as reported here earlier this week), the healthy starting defense (for maybe the entire first half), and offensive linemen Tyron Smith and La'el Collins, who are scheduled to participate in today's Friday workout.
OUT - Dak Prescott (the wrong decision, per columnist Richie Whitt), Ezekiel Elliott and DeMarcus Lawrence.
AUG 20: HURTS SO GOOD? Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback Jalen Hurts left before Thursday night’s preseason game - a 35-0 loss to the Patriots - with a stomach infection that was discovered after he was examined at the hospital.
Hurts, the former Oklahoma star, reported pain in his abdomen. He is apparently OK, the illness is not COVID-19 related, and while Hurts has been advised to stay home and rest for a couple of days, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said Hurts is “fine.”
AUG 18: GRIFFEN GETS ANOTHER SHOT: Former Cowboys defensive lineman Everson Griffen is scheduled to have a tryout with the Minnesota Vikings, where he was once a superstar.
With the injury to Neville Gallimore could he be a fit in Dallas?
Well, that answer is no. But he has emotional ties to the Vikings, and the organization feels the same way about him. So while Dallas has other ideas for how to replace Gallimore (who will miss at least a month), we wish good things for Griffen on his job search.
AUG 18: IS COLLINS OK? The Cowboys began the day practicing outdoors in the backyard here at The Star. Then the rains came and they moved inside to Ford Center.
Then trouble - maybe - arrived when right tackle La'el Collins was forced to exit the workout with trainers examining his neck area.
Collins left the practice but did remain on the sideline during the workout.
Collins, seen by the Cowboys as a premier talent, missed all of last season due to hip problems. He entered this season slimmed down and healthy ... a status that Dallas hopes will continue.
CowboysSI.com is inside The Star and will update as the story unfolds.
AUG 17: COWBOYS TO 85 The Cowboys are down to today's 85-man roster limit, with two tough items of news: fullback Sewo Olonilua (neck) and cornerback Reggie Robinson (toe) are moving to injured reserve for the year.
Dallas made a trio of other moves, with a planned shift of rookie Anthony Hines (elbow) to IR following his clearing of waivers, and with the releases of cornerback Kyron Brown and receiver Brennan Eagles.
AUG 17: JAMAL IN WITH SEATTLE The Cowboys and Jamal Adams did a lot of flirting there for a couple of years. They love him. The hometown guy Adams wanted to play here.
But was Dallas ever going to pay the star safety $17.5 million APY? No.
But the Seattle Seahawks will, as according to NFL Network, the parties have agreed to terms on a large extension for Adams - a four-year, $70 mil deal (with $38 mil guaranteed) that makes him the league’s highest paid safety, I’m told. He gets $38M guaranteed.
AUG 17: INJURIES IMPACT? Injured Cowboys players not practicing on Monday night include defensive tackle Neville Gallimore, tight end Sean McKeon and tackle Josh Ball. That trio has what the club is calling "significant'' injury issues.
Tuesday is cutdown day (to 85). How will those injuries impact Dallas' moves today? The Cowboys are asking Osa Odighizuwa to do more at defensive tackle, but they will do some searching at that spot. Jeremy Sprinkle can take over for McKeon as the third tight end, so probably no movement there. And at swing tackle? Ty Nsekhe was back on Monday, having overcome a mild injury ... but the search might be on that that spot.
AUG 11: ALDON CUT Troubled defensive lineman Aldon Smith, who made a notable return to football in 2020 with the Dallas Cowboys, on Wednesday is being released by the Seattle Seahawks. (Per NFL Network.)
Smith was out of the NFL for behavioral reasons for half-a-decade before signing with Dallas. But he ran into some trouble while with the Cowboys, who opted to not bring him back. Seattle signed him, but amid more legal issues, he's now again a free agent.
AUG 5: McCOY TO VEGAS Gerald McCoy, who became an organizational favorite in Dallas a year ago despite his short stint as a Cowboy, is now joining the Raiders. On Wednesday, McCoy, a six-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman, signed with Las Vegas.
A long-time star in Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting lineup, McCoy is now signing on with his for fourth team in four years, including him coming to the Cowboys in the spring of 2020. McCoy, however, never played a down for Dallas as he was released after sustaining a torn quadriceps tendon on the first day of camp.
COO Stephen Jones continued in the offseason talked of McCoy as being a Cowboy, but Dallas eventually moved on from McCoy, the third-overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft who at 33 was praised by the Cowboys for taking a leadership role with their young D-lineman (via technology) literally while he was still in a hospital bed.
AUG 4: EX-COWBOYS CORNER OFF TO MILE HIGH The Denver Broncos have signed former Cowboys cornerback Saivion Smith.
Smith played in three games last season for the Cowboys as he shuttled back and forth from the practice squad to the active roster. He was waived following the draft after the Cowboys drafted two defensive backs and was claimed by the Seattle Seahawks before they waived him last week.
Now, Smith gets a fresh start in Denver where he will compete for a spot on the 53-man roster.
AUG 1: LOONEY TO BIG APPLE Joe Looney was a well-liked figure in the Cowboys locker room. And Jason Garrett likes him, too. No wonder the Giants are signing the veteran offensive lineman.
Garrett is now the Giants offensive coordinator and of course was Looney’s head coach in Dallas. Looney remade his rep in a Cowboys uniform, becoming a starter when Travis Frederick fell ill.
Long-considered a "class clown'' (in a good way), Looney has also developed into a versatile interior O-lineman and a positive locker-room guy.
JULY 24: ANOTHER DB SIGNS The Cowboys have signed former Jets cornerback Kyron Brown to a two-year contract, which means Dallas now has a full 90-man roster - with more shuffling to come, as safety Malik Hooker remains on the radar.
READ MORE: Cowboys and Malik Hooker Plan, HERE
Brown is 6-1 and 195, a product of Akron who went undrafted in 2019 and played mostly special teams for the Jets.
Hooker is in Oxnard, as CowboysSI.com was first to report, and is going through the protocol with plans to sign with Dallas. When that happens, another roster cut will obviously need to occur.
JULY 21: GOLSTON SIGNS The Cowboys have signed third-round rookie defensive lineman Chauncey Golston. All 11 picks now under contract as training camp begins in Oxnard.
JULY 17: ROBINSON RELEASED Cornerback Rashard Robinson, who has been suspended the first two games of next season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances, is now out of a job, the Cowboys having released him on Saturday.
Robinson spent most of the 2020 season on the practice squad but was signed to the active roster in December. He appeared in four games, and had three starts while totaling 21 tackles.
(As a note of clarity, Rashard Robinson is not to be confused with Reggie Robinson, the DB who remains with the Cowboys as they prepare to go to Oxnard and training camp on Tuesday.
Oh, and Rashard's response to the move?
"Ima make ya regret that,'' he writes on IG.
JUNE 6: JULIO JONES TRADED AWAY FROM FALCONS, AND COWBOYS SCHEDULE
The Atlanta Falcons always seemed willing to trade away Julio Jones. Now, he has a new home.
According to multiple reports, the Falcons and Tennessee Titans have come to terms to send the All-Pro wide receiver to the Music City for the 2021 season. In return, the Titans are expected to trade a second and fifth-round pick to Atlanta.
While the deal is not finalized, both parties are expected to come to terms in the next 48 hours, making Jones officially a Titan and perhaps fantastic news for Cowboys fans.
Jones became one of the game's top weapons when drafted out of Alabama with the No. 6 pick in 2011. As the face of the franchise in Atlanta, the 32-year-old recorded six straight 1,000-yard seasons from 2014-19. In 2015, Jones led the NFL with 1,871 receiving yards.
Last season, Jones dealt with multiple injuries but was consistent when on the field. He recorded 51 catches for 771 yards and three touchdowns in nine games.
Jones now becomes a complement to emerging Pro Bowl target AJ Brown and another weapon for Ryan Tannehill under center.
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JUNE 4: COWBOYS TO CHECK IN WITH GENO ATKINS Former Bengals All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who is recovering from a torn rotator cuff, will be visiting Dallas Cowboys team doctor Dan Cooper for a check-up in the coming weeks, according to a report from NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.
According to Rapoport, Cooper performed the surgery on Atkins, and this is not considered a team visit. Atkins is expected to be cleared by Cooper to return to action, with multiple teams, including the Cowboys, interested in his services.
MAY 24: COWBOYS SIGN WIDE RECEIVER Dallas adds Johnnie Dixon after a tryout last week. The former Ohio State Buckeye went undrafted in 2019 and has spent time with the Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals without appearing in any regular season games.
Dealing with a number of injuries at Ohio State, Dixon totaled 60 catches for 1,091 yards and 16 touchdowns during his final two college seasons. Healthy now, Dixon has a chance to make the 53-man roster and join Dallas' deadly receiver room, consisting of; Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, Cedrick Wilson, Noah Brown, Malid Turner and rookie Simi Fehoko.
MAY 21: IRVING CUT David Irving, the mercurial Former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman, was released by the Las Vegas raiders on Friday. Irving‘s time in Dallas was marked by colorful and controversial behavior. … in the end punctuated by a suspension and a pursuit in the business world of marijuana.
MAY 19: DRISKEL LAND IN OTHER TEXAS TEAM If the Cowboys were interested in adding another QB heading into the offseason, one is off the market officially. The Houston Texans have added former Denver Broncos backup Jeff Driskel on a one-year deal worth up to $2.5 million.
Driskel, a former sixth-round pick from Louisiana Tech, has played for the San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals. Since coming out of college, he's thrown for 2,120 yards and 13 touchdowns to eight interceptions in 15 games — nine of which were starts.
The Texans now have five quarterbacks on the roster with the addition Driskel. The team added former Los Angeles Chargers Tyrod Taylor on a one-year deal and drafted Stanford's Davis Mills with the No. 67 pick in April's draft.
Driskel recently visited Dallas but no deal was forged. The Cowboys are now planning on a visit from another journeyman QB in Brett Hundley as a backup to Dak Prescott.
Houston also traded for Cincinnati backup Ryan Finley before the NFL Draft. Keep in mind the Texans still have Deshaun Watson, who currently is facing 22 civil cases of sexual assault and sexual misconduct.
MAY 18: COWBOYS DECIDE ON 2 QBs The Cowboys needed two arms for last weekend's rookie minicamp ... and that's as far as it's going to go for JT Barrett and Brady Davis. Dallas is not planning on signing either guy, Clarence Hill Jr. tweets of their “less than stellar showings” at the minicamp.
That leaves, as of right now, Garrett Gilbert, Cooper Rush and Ben DiNucci on the roster behind Dak Prescott. The Cowboys have flirted with the idea of adding vet journeyman free agent Jeff Driskel and a couple of other backups of that caliber.
MAY 16: ANKOU TO ATLANTA The Cowboys acquired veteran defensive tackle Eli Ankou from the Texans last November in exchange for a late-round pick. It wasn't an impactful move for Dallas; it came after the Cowboys' decision to release Dontari Poe. But now Ankou's time here is done as he is signing with Atlanta.
Ankou has been in the league since 2017, spending time with Jacksonville, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Houston and here.
Dallas feels it has fortified the interior line with a couple of additions, including sixth-rounder Quinton Bohanna. Read more about his first weekend with the Cowboys at rookie minicamp here.
MAY 13: CAM TO DENVER The Cowboys turned the page away from swing tackle Cam Fleming a year ago, and then he took a turn with the Giants, but with Ja'Wuan James out for the year in Denver, the Broncos are turning to potential replacement Fleming, who has agreed to a one-year deal for what NFL Network says is up to "$3.67 million.''
In Dallas, both Tyron Smith and La'el Collins are back from injury, and they hope the backup issues they had last year - post-Cam - aren't repeated as they've signed 35-year-old vet Ty Nseckhe to be the swing guy along with draftee Josh Ball joining a handful of incumbent backups.
MAY 12: FORMER COWBOYS SAFETY TRYING OUT WITH TEXANS Former Dallas Cowboys safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will be trying out with the Houston Texans at their upcoming minicamp as he seemingly looks to work his way back into the NFL after missing the 2020 season.
Clinton-Dix only spent a brief period in Dallas, being cut last September before he'd been able to make an appearance for Mike Nolan's defense. Prior to last season, the 2016 Pro Bowler hadn't missed a regular-season game since entering the league in 2014.
MAY 11: WOODS SIGNS WITH COLTS Just one day after taking a visit with the Indianapolis Colts, former Cowboys starting defensive tackle Antwaun Woods has signed a one-year deal with the team, per his agent Drew Rosenhaus.
Woods was released last week after the 2021 NFL Draft, following the Cowboys' decision to select a pair of defensive tackles in Quinton Bohana and Osa Odighizuwa, as well as defensive end Chauncey Golston.
Woods was one of six Cowboys released.
MAY 10: WOODS VISITS INDY Antwaun Woods, the defensive tackle starter just released by the Cowboys, is visiting the Colts, ESPN notes.
Woods found himself a victim of Dallas’ desire for a new-look D-line under new coordinator Dan Quinn. Woods recently signed a one-year, $2.133 million tender offer to stay with the Cowboys … but then came the Dallas pursuit of help in the NFL Draft … and the decision to waive him.
The 6-1, 310-pound Woods - nicknamed “The Human Log” - started 32 of the 39 games he played for the Cowboys over the last three seasons.
MAY 5: DOWN TO 90: The Cowboys released six players Wednesday to shave down to the 90-man roster limit: Antwaun Woods and Saivion Smith, as mentioned below, plus center Adam Redmond, defensive linemen Walter Palmore and Ladarius Hamilton and cornerback Kemon Hall
The big news involves Woods, of course, a seven-game starter last year made expendable by the recent drafting of three D-linemen last week: third-rounders Osa Odighizuwa and Chauncey Golston and sixth-rounder Quinton Bohanna.
MAY 5: LOG OUT It was just two weeks ago when the Cowboys opted, contractually, to keep Antwaun Woods.
That was then. This is now.
The Cowboys had placed a right of first refusal RFA tender on defensive tackle Antwaun Woods for $2.133 million. On April 22, "The Human Log'' signed that deal and was to be back in the Dallas mix in the interior line. Newcomers Carlos Watkins and Brent Urban can be in that mix as well, along with young incumbents Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore.
What changed, as on Wednesday the Cowboys opted to release Woods? The NFL Draft.
Over the weekend, Dallas picked a trio of defensive lineman, among them Quinton Bohanna, who played at 357 pounds last year in college and with his bulk and long arms is - despite being just a sixth-round rookie - already being mentioned by coordinator Dan Quinn as a potential starter.
Dallas has also released reserve cornerback Savion Smith, a product of Alabama.
APRIL 22: WR RETURNS Like Antwaun Woods mentioned below, Cowboys restricted free agent Cedrick Wilson has signed his original-round tender of $2.133 million. Wilson last year got work at the fourth receiver behind Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. He helped on special teams and caught 17 passes and two touchdowns.
APRIL 22: DT RETURNS The Cowboys had placed a right of first refusal RFA tender on defensive tackle Antwaun Woods for $2.133 million. On Thursday, "The Human Log'' signed that deal and will be back in the Dallas mix in the interior line. Newcomers Carlos Watkins and Brent Urban can be in that mix as well, along with young incumbents Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore.
APRIL 8: TE FROM WFT The Cowboys are signing former Washington tight end Jeremy Sprinkle, who will fight for a backup role with Blake Bell having signed in KC. Sprinkle, who played at Arkansas, was a fifth-round pick and is 6-5, 255. In his four seasons he's played in 59 games, catching 34 passes for 301 yards.
APRIL 7: COWBOYS GRAB NEW PUNTER FROM "OTHER" LONE STAR STATE FRANCHISE The Cowboys will be looking for any punter that can add an extra element to special teams. They found their man right up I-35 for the start of the 2021 season. ... or at least competition to be the man.
Dallas is signing former Houston Texans punter Bryan Anger to a one-year deal. The Cowboys released long-time punter Chris Jones earlier this offseason. Last season for the Texans, Anger averaged 46.4 yards per punt on 54 attempts with a long of 67 yards.
During his tenure with the Cowboys, Jones averaged 44.5 yards per kick. Last season, Hunter Niswander took over the duties following Jones' abdominal surgery. He averaged 47.2 yards per kick.
APRIL 2: NEW NUMBERS Cowboys newcomers mean Cowboys new numbers. We're still waiting on Keanu Neal's as his signing is not yet official. But seven signees are:
35 Damontae Kazee
42 Jayron Kearse
44 Jake McQuaide
75 Ty Nsekhe 91
91 Carlos Watkins
95 Brent Urban
98 Tarell Basham
Anything notable here? Well, they sure didn't let the locker stall even get cold before they gave away L.P.'s old 91 and Crawford's old 98!
MARCH 29: CRAWFORD EXPLAINS RETIREMENT We reported in January that Tyrone Crawford, 31, was planning to retire. That's happened now, and the long-time Cowboys D-lineman leader is explaining why.
"I just came to the decision that it's probably best for me to hang it up," Crawford told ESPN. "I don't think I'll be able to perform the way I want to perform on the field, and that was important to me. I thought it was time. I don't want those things to mess up my future as a father."
"I'm just trying to bring my body back to match with my age," he said. "I'm just trying to enjoy this and get my body back to 31 years old because those Marinelli years, those are like dog years."
Crawford actually has high praise for his old defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and as always, an interesting take on a variety of subjects in this worth-your-time read.
MARCH 28: KAZEE PAYDAY A Cowboys official tells us they believe they got a "bargain'' on new free safety Damontae Kazee. And if he does anything to replicate his best work in Atlanta? Like seven picks in a year?
A "bargain'' he will be.
Kazee's deal is official as of Monday and it looks like this: $1.127 million total, but just a $137,500 signing bonus with a $990,000 base.
The Cowboys' commitment here isn't very grand. But if he's the starting free safety? The price will have been very right.
MARCH 25: KAZEE NEGOTIATIONS The Cowboys has their visits with Malik Hooker and with Damontae Kazee, and one with Jayron Kearse, too.
Kearse is signed. (He is in theory a backup "hybrid'' safety/linebacker behind newly-signed Keanu Neal, and the 6-4 Kearse can help on special teams.)
Hooker is hopeful. (Though tap the brakes here. This may be all about the Achilles tear rehab.)
And Kazee? The session went well enough that, as first reported by the Dallas News, the Cowboys have made him an offer.
There are other reports that Dallas has also offered a deal to Hooker. A source tells us that a media "assumption'' more than it is a fact as of Wednesday afternoon. Logically, there will be no Hooker offer at all if the medicals didn't meet Dallas' requirements ... and again, reports of an offer to Hooker are simply false.
MARCH 23: IS KEARSE ANY GOOD? Jayron Kearse is also on the list of safeties visiting the Cowboys, joining Damontae Kazee and Malik Hooker, who as we first reported are scheduled to be at The Star on Tuesday before spending all of Wednesday on a visit that will include interviews and medicals.
Where does Kearse (his visit first noted by ESPN) fit?
He's 6-4, 215, but was just a seventh-round pick in 2017. He spent three years in Minnesota but was never a starter. He did start half the games in Detroit last season but was waived in December after violating team rules. He's also had a couple of run-ins with the law, and began last year suspended the first three games for violating the substance-abuse policy. He ended the year on Baltimore’s practice squad.
Was Jayron Kearse ever even a real prospect? Check out our 105.3 The Fan colleague Jeff Cavanaugh's 2017 NFL Draft scouting report on him:
Writes Cavanaugh in reaction to the news of Kearse's visit: "I’ll have to see how his career has gone but he’s my least favorite safety prospect in 7 years of study.''
MARCH 23: LP WANTS TO PLAY He put 16 seasons and .... he wants more.
L.P. Ladouceur, now 40, was pretty much perfect in his time with the Cowboys. Now Dallas will hope that replacement Jake McQuaide is as good.
And the second-longest-tenured Cowboy? Stellar long-snapper.LP says he wants to keep playing. Somewhere.
MARCH 21: COWBOYS OFFICIALLY SIGN 5: The Cowboys officially signed five NFL free agents, including pass-rush talent Tarell Basham from the Jets. It's worth noting that Basham is presently listed by Dallas as a "linebacker,'' though we figure him as an edge rusher.
Similarly, Dallas signee Carlos Watkins, formerly of the Texans, is presently listed as a "defensive end,'' though it's likely he'll play more inside.
Additionally, Dallas made official its deals with long-snapper Jake McQuaide, tackle Ty Nsekhe and defensive tackle Brent Urban.
When they officially sign ex Falcon Keanu Neal, the Cowboys PR department will face another positional challenge, as Neal is a safety by trade but will, sources tell CowboysSI.com, be a "hybrid'' player who lines up at safety and at linebacker. Neal's deal may also be announced as something more than the original "one-year contract,'' as it could feature "dummy'' voidable years tacked on.
MARCH 18: D-LINEMEN IN The Dallas Cowboys have made another Thursday addition to their defensive line via NFL free agency, as Brent Urban is coming to The Star via a one-year deal ... as revealed both by him and (first) by his wife, broke the news on her Twitter account.
Urban joins former Houston Texans defensive lineman Carlos Watkins in coming to Dallas, and like Watkins was a part-time starter in his previous stop.
Urban - who happens to stand 6-7 and weighs 300 - started eight of the 16 games he played for the Chicago Bears last season and recorded 36 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He signed with Chicago during two seasons after stints with the Titans and the Ravens, where the 29-year-old Canadian was a fourth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Earlier in the day, the Cowboys agreed to a deal with defensive tackle Carlos Watkins. Watkins, a 2017 fourth-round pick out of Clemson, played four seasons with the Texans before becoming an unrestricted free agent after finishing out his rookie contract with the Texans. The 6-3, 297-pound defensive lineman was a starter with Houston in 2020, registering 11 first-team appearances. He recorded two of his career four sacks last season while playing about half of the snaps for the Texans.
On Thursday evening, Dallas added EDGE rusher Tarell Basham. That story is here.
MARCH 17: ONE GET, ONE GOT AWAY Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis is staying via a three-year deal, an arrangement that will surely be overshadowed by the fact that a Dallas idea won’t work out ... as Patrick Peterson is signing a one-year deal with Minnesota.
MARCH 17: CHRIS CUT The Cowboys have released long-time punter Chris Jones, in part to create salary cap space ($2 million saved) but also because Dallas chooses the younger and cheaper Hunter Niswander.
Jones has tried to play through injuries in recent years and, as noted by Rob Phillips’ breaking report, leaves Dallas with a career 44.5-yard average.
Niswander averaged 47.2 yards in the final eight games, tying for ninth-best in the league.
Jones signed a four-year extension in 2017 worth nearly $9 million. He had one year left on his deal at a $2 million base salary.
MARCH 16: OT HOMECOMING Ty Nsekhe attended high school and college in Texas, and now he's coming back - one more crack at it at age 35.
He is a resident of Dallas and active in the community, but most recently played for Buffalo, as the Bills signed him to a two-year, $10 million deal. He played some in 2019 but in 2020 was a non-factor.
Nsekhe, 6-8, 330, has bounced around pro football for more than a decade, including stints in the AFL, AFL2 and the CFL. In Dallas, the plan is for Tyron Smith and La'el Collins to start at tackle. There are kids behind them ... and now there is Nsekhe.
MARCH 16: CJ IS A KEEPER Cowboys fans who pay attention know not to call him a "cornerback.'' Because he's not. But C.J. Goodwin is a special-teams ace - to the Cowboys, maybe one of the best in the NFL. So they're keeping him, with a two-year deal that agent Drew Rosenhaus tells the media is worth $3.5 mil including a $2 mil signing bonus.
MARCH 16: CHIDO GONE Predictably, Chidobe Awuzie is gone, on a three-year deal to Cincy. Full story here.
MARCH 16: WINNERS OR LOSERS? Day 1 of NFL Free Agency is in the books. Did Dallas win or lose?
It depends on whether you completely buy in to their philosophy.
The Cowboys, as usual, opted to avoid "paying great prices to good players,'' secured cheap backup younger guys (Cedrick Wilson, Antwaun Woods, Noah Brown), and stuck with the "keep-our-own'' mindset.
It that smarter than the philosophy used on Day 1 in Houston, where, recognizing they have a poor roster, engineered 10 deals (in addition to their two weekend trades) - almost one-fourth of all the deals done Monday? Is it smarter than what Bill Belichick did in New England, supplementing the Cam Newton signing with a series of pricy moves featuring tight end Jonnu Smith and pass-rusher Matt Judon?
I'm not arguing against Dallas' "smartness'' here. But outside its mastery of the comp pick system - and acknowledging that the Dak Prescott signing "counts'' - I can't argue for Dallas 'smartness,'' either. Because that would mean the Cowboys front office is more savvy than the front offices in Minnesota (buying Davlin Tomlinson at $11 million APY), in Houston, in New England.
And frankly, the Dallas Cowboys cannot show evidence that they are "smarter'' in free agency than any of their competitors.
So, the Cowboys "loser''? Any fan who expected Day 1 gifts under the March Christmas tree. And the "winner''? Dallas gets to be that as soon as it quits finishing seasons win six and seven and eight victories.
MARCH 15: JOE THOMAS TO TEXANS Joe Thomas made a little over $1 million in 2020 but he just doubled that in his one-year deal with the Houston Texans. He can start, back up and play special teams. ... and in Dallas?
Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith need to be better. And depending on what Sean Lee decides about retirement, that leaves the Cowboys with a clear need for a third linebacker.
MARCH 15 L.P. IS OUT Cowboys long-time long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur, who just turned 40, was planning on re-upping here, having appeared in 253 games with Dallas - just two shy of Jason Witten's franchise record.
Instead, the new (as of last year) regime is turning the page, to Rams snapper Jake McQuaide, who of course played for special-teams coordinator John Fassel when both were in L.A.
MARCH 15: TENDER IS THE NIGHT Cowboys restricted free agents Cedrick Wilson and Antwaun Woods will each be tendered at $2,133,000 for 2021, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Receiver Noah Brown is also returning.
MARCH 15: ANDY AND ALEX FLIP? The Washington Football Team needs an upgrade from Alex Smith at QB. The Dallas Cowboys might need a replacement for Andy Dalton as their backup QB.
What if each team offers the solution for the other?
We have floated the name of Smith as a guy who, if affordable, could be helpful to the Cowboys as a backup to Dak Prescott. Smith has an old-timey history with Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy: McCarthy was San Francisco’s offensive coordinator when the 49ers drafted Smith in 2005.)..
A source on Monday reiterated to us Dalton's quest to once again be a starter. Meanwhile, Smith - who was a $20 million QB in Washington last year - might no longer be that.
It's worth noting that there are those here inside The Star who have great respect for Alex Smith ... and that Dak is among them.
Dalton - for a decade the first-team guy in Cincinnati before signing his one-year deal back home in Texas a season ago - made just $3 million in base salary in 2020. He's obviously looking for a better deal than that, and a rebound to a starting job in the NFL.
The Cowboys would love to have Dalton simply come back. But his first efforts, a free agency opens, is to be first-team.
READ MORE: Theismann: "I'm Good With Taylor Heinicke"
Washington is clear in its desire to not "overpay'' for a new QB. There are many directions the WFT could go here. But Dalton is solid and might be affordable.
MARCH 15: 2 FALCONS SAFETIES? We've previously linked the Cowboys to one Falcons safety. How about two?
MARCH 15: CAM IS GONE The Panthers have grabbed a Cowboys O-lineman. According to multiple reports, the Panthers are signing Cam Erving on a two-year deal worth $10 million. Erving spent last season in Dallas, working as a swing tackle, but he got hurt early ... then so many of his linemates did ... and in the end he started five games.
The Cowboys believe they have young depth candidates to help here, and of course are planning on the healthy return of starters Tyron Smith and La'el Collins.
Oh, and there’s a potential comp pick to be gained by this Erving departure as well.
MARCH 15: TRE BOSTON IDEA? Could recently-released free safety Tre Boston be a fit with the Dallas Cowboys secondary?
We say ... Yes.
The Cowboys’ pass defense was sometimes adequate last year (at least compared to their run defense) but free safety Xavier Woods is a free agent. ... and in our judgment, he’s a run-of-the-mill guy.
READ MORE: Jerryisms at Work
Woods plays the same position that Boston does, so it would stand to reason if Dallas thinks that either Boston is an upgrade or that they can't afford to bring back Woods, they could have interest in Boston.
Boston played almost 1,100 defensive snaps in 2020 with a pretty equal amount (429) played at free safety to in the box (424), per ProFootballFocus.com (PFF).
Boston is 6-1 and 205 pounds and was originally a fourth-round pick of the Panthers in 2014 out of North Carolina.
It's a bit concerning that he played closer to the line of scrimmage this past year as opposed to what he did under coach Ron Rivera in Carolina, but that could be attributed to scheme changes.
However, when you combine that with his release after just one year of a three-year deal - the questions are fair to ask: How much range does Boston have left? And if he’s best-off playing down, do the Cowboys - with Donovan Wilson in play - really need him?
Boston signed back with Carolina on a three-year, $18 million contract less than a year ago. He would have counted over $6 million on the cap in 2021.
PFF graded Boston as a 49.9/100 player in coverage in 2020. Boston was charged with allowing 36 receptions on 52 targets for 319 yards and three touchdowns.
Overall, Boston was graded as a 53.8/100 and only 58.1 against the run and missed 16 tackles per PFF.
Woods might be considered a better coverage player than Boston at this point but as PFF notes, Boston probably isn't someone you should count on for deep single-high safety range.
So ... Can the Cowboys get by with a player like Boston at a lower cost than what Woods might cost? We very much disagree with the projections, but ... yeah, Woods moves forward with a projected four-year, $6.25 million cost (via OvertheCap.com and PFF.)
If that's the market, we think Boston is going to come in less than that because of age and other factors, which might lead to Dallas squeezing and losing Woods. ... but the Cowboys, in the end, making a move that might make them better.
MARCH 14: HAYWARD CONNECTION A McCarthy guy? Cowboys Connection: Ex All-Pro Cornerback Casey Hayward On Wish List?
MARCH 13: 20 NAMES TO WATCH Big to little, front to back, good names here: Dallas Cowboys NFL Free Agency: 20 Names In Our 'Locked On' Podcast
MARCH 13: K.J. WRIGHT A FIT? He wants to get paid. Dan Quinn, what say you? Cowboys Free Agency: Star Seahawks LB Linked To Dallas ...
MARCH 13: 4 SAFETIES TO HELP Tre Boston is mentioned above. Maybe four even better ideas? The Cowboys 4 Targets To Fix Safety In NFL Free Agency ...
MARCH 10: PAY XAVIER? A simple question: Is Cowboys Free Agency: Is Xavier Woods A $25M Safety? We think we have the Cowboys' answer.
MARCH 9: COWBOYS MOVE MONEY Dallas got some business done with restructures. Read about the dollars and sense here: Cowboys Move Tyron, La'el & Martin Money For Dak Cap Room
MARCH 8: THE BIGGEST FREE AGENT - DAK DONE Review is all here ... Cowboys BREAKING: Dak Deal Done!: Is this what Cowboys owner Jerry Jones meant by an ‘Imminent’ deal back in 2019? And about that contract and a "winner'': Cowboys' Dak Deal: 'Dummy' Years And Did Jerry Win?: Sometimes it’s isn’t just the money. It’s how you write the deal.
MARCH 8: AMARI AND ZEKE RUMORS First came the Dak Deal - And then came questions about the Cowboys Status Of Amari Cooper: Time to make sure Prescott’s favorite target fits. Oh, and what about Dak's best buddy? Barring a some unimaginably marvelous offer, trading Ezekiel Elliott, a source tells CowboysSI.com, is simply not the plan — gossip be damned. And there’s quite a bit of gossip.