There’s but one surprise on the Dallas Cowboys‘ Week 1 scratch list.
The team declared defensive end Taco Charlton, linebacker Luke Gifford, safeties Darian Thompson and Donovan Wilson, offensive linemen Adam Redmond and Brandon Knight, and defensive tackle Trysten Hill inactive for Sunday’s season-opener against the New York Giants.
Gifford, Thompson and Wilson — all three are battling ankle injuries — were ruled out by Dallas head coach Jason Garrett on Friday.
Charlton, who also picked up an ankle issue during the preseason, revealed in a series of tweets Saturday that he’d be “down” against Big Blue.
Hill — the No. 58 overall pick of this year’s NFL draft — is a bit of a stunner considering the investment Dallas made and how important depth is behind starting DEs DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford, both of whom spent the summer on the Physically Unable to Perform List.
The former UCF standout opened camp behind the eight-ball, struggling to adapt to the pros. He pushed through fatigue issues in the hot California sun, and even though the team hoped for a more immediately polished product, Hill’s perseverance earned the respect of his coaches, including defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
“The train is leaving. He’s the caboose right now. Get up front. He’s learning, just how to hydrate and all that stuff. And our pace and tempo is fast, more than most people. He did a nice job today,” Marinelli said, via the Dallas Morning News.
“He’s tough. Keep it going. We’ve just got to harden him up.”
Sans Charlton and Hill, the Cowboys will roll with Dorance Armstrong, Kerry Hyder, Joe Jackson, and Christian Covington behind Lawrence, Crawford, Maliek Collins and Antwaun Woods.
Dallas is otherwise healthy following a summer of sitouts, getting back previously-injured stars such as Lawrence, inside linebacker Sean Lee, wide receiver Amari Cooper, tackle Tyron Smith, and guard Zack Martin, who was limited each of the last three practices with a back ailment, and who was named an offensive captain.
For the Giants, tight end Garrett Dickerson (quad) was ruled out, as was wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring).
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Dak Talks (Temporarily) Die on Gameday
The Cowboys will take the field shortly and its franchise quarterback won’t have a new deal in place, as was the plan.
Dallas QB Dak Prescott did not ink his long-discussed, potentially record-setting contract extension prior to the team’s 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff versus New York.
“Prescott has loss-of-value and disability insurance policies, as well as multiyear endorsement deals, that all together are valued at more than $50 million, league sources told ESPN,” Schefter wrote Sunday.
“The insurance policies protect the star quarterback if he has a career-threatening injury. The endorsement deals, worth more than what some starting NFL quarterbacks are making, are in place for years, according to sources.”
Schefter added that although Prescott would prefer a new contract, he “doesn’t feel the need” to press the matter this season. And neither do the Cowboys, who, assuming no movement and no Collective Bargaining Agreement extension, would have the option next offseason to slap the franchise and transition tags on free agents, including Prescott and cornerback Byron Jones.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL