Off they go!
The Dallas Cowboys began the process of reducing their roster to the 53-man regular season limit on Friday, releasing running back Darius Jackson, according to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News.
The Cowboys also waived, among others steadily trickling in, punter Kasey Redfern, offensive tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty, guard Lukayus McNeil, tight end Marcus Lucas, safety Jameill Showers, cornerback Tyvis Powell, and long snapper Drew Scott, per Gehlken.
Jackson, a fourth-year pro who began his career in Dallas as a 2016 sixth-round pick, opened training camp with the first-string offense, the temporary replacement for holdout RB Ezekiel Elliott. He appeared in all four preseason games, rushing for 49 yards on 18 carries. He also added four receptions for 27 yards.
Jackson became expendable due to the emergence of fourth-round rookie rusher Tony Pollard, who’s been elevated to RB1 status while Elliott remains away from the team. Pollard will work in tandem with veteran Alfred Morris, forming a thunder-and-lightning attack in Zeke’s stead.
“Yeah, I mean, we’ve been preparing for that,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said of Elliott’s holdout stretching into the regular season, per Pro Football Talk. “That’s why we brought Alfred in. As we’ve said, we’ve been so pleasantly surprised, Pollard has been even better than we expected. We’re very comfortable with what we have there.
“. . .We’re comfortable with that group if that’s what it is. Obviously, we’re still going to be doing everything we can to do something with Zeke.”
The comfort level increased Saturday, amid reported progress in negotiations with Elliott, as the Cowboys waived RB Jordan Chunn, a 2018 undrafted fre agent who collected 49 yards on 16 carries, and 46 yards and a touchdown on nine receptions, this preseason. The club hopes to re-sign Chunn to the practice squad, according to Gehlken.
Dallas also waived rookie RB Mike Weber in an indication, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said, that Elliott could soon put pen to paper.
The Cowboys, too, trimmed some unneeded fat at the quarterback position, chopping Mike White and Taryn Christion — formalities with franchise passer Dak Prescott entering a contract year feeling like a million bucks.
Redfern had operated as Dallas’ kickoff specialist but his services are no longer required as the club will roll into September with Brett Maher as the starting kicker and Chris Jones the primary punter.
Showers and Powell were waived with injury designations. It’s possible they revert to injured reserve if (when) they clear waivers.
The Cowboys must be down to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET on Saturday. They’ll then start the process of creating a 10-man practice squad.
The cuts — updated throughout Friday and Saturday, and gathered from media reports — as they come in:
RB Darius Jackson
P Kasey Redfern
OT Juwann Bushell-Beatty
OG Lukayus McNeil
TE Marcus Lucas
S Jameill Showers
CB Tyvis Powell
LS Drew Scott
S George Iloka
OT Jake Campos
LB Justin Phillips
WR Reggie Davis
TE Codey McElroy
CB Treston Decoud
RB Jordan Chunn
RB Mike Weber
QB Mike White
QB Taryn Christion
CB Donovan Olumba
DE Daniel Wise
WR Cedrick Wilson
OT Mitch Hyatt
WR Jalen Guyton
LB Nate Brown
LB Chris Covington
CB Mike Jackson
LB Kyle Queiro
DT Shakir Soto
DE Ricky Walker
FB Ryan Yurachek
Follow the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Charlton Survives Cuts
Taco Charlton is one lineman the Dallas Cowboys aren’t trading. Owner/general manager Jerry Jones announced Friday that the No. 28 overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft — the subject of swirling trade rumors and release speculation — will make the final roster as a backup defensive end behind DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford.
“He’s frankly had a great camp,” Jones said, per the team’s official website. “…He does some things really well, and he’s capable of doing some other things really well. And it’s that part – you do the other things really well – that would make him the player we wanted to have when we drafted him with the No. 1 pick (in 2017).”
Elliott on Verge of New Deal?
Talk about an eleventh-hour change of heart. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Saturday that contract negotiations between the Cowboys and Elliott are “intensifying,” and the sides are hoping to “wrap up a new deal this weekend.”
The Schefter Bomb comes less than 24 hours after his NFL Network counterpart, Ian Rapoport, claimed Dallas was working diligently behind the scenes to lock down Elliott, perhaps at a record-setting salary, despite Jones’ public posturing that would indicate otherwise.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL