Cowboys Place WR on New COVID-19 List Ahead of Training Camp

Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones

Getty Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones

Six players from five NFL teams have been moved to the newly-enacted reserve/COVID-19 list, including a member of the Dallas Cowboys.

The Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken noted Sunday that Cowboys wide receiver Jon’Vea Johnson is the team’s first player to draw this designation.

Browns running back Dontrell Hilliard and safety Jovante Moffatt, Ravens defensive back Nigel Warrior, Bengals defensive end Kendall Futrell, and Chiefs WR Aleva Hifo also were placed on the list, according to Pro Football Talk.

The list was created to accommodate those who test positive for the coronavirus or those in quarantine after coming in close proximity with an infected person. Teams are prohibited from specifying which category a player falls under, though they’re required to act immediately in such situations.

Cowboys rookies, upon reporting to The Star, were tested for the virus on Tuesday and Friday. Each individual must return two negative tests before physically entering the facility.

The rest of Dallas’ 90-man offseason roster will report Tuesday to begin training camp. From there, with no preseason to speak of, players will receive a 21-day acclimation period and undergo several virtual meetings before a padded practice takes place. They’ll need to pass two COVID-19 tests — on Day 1 and Day 4 — to remain in the building.

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Refresher on Johnson

The Toledo product was signed by the Cowboys in 2019 as an undrafted free agent. After collecting early offseason buzz, Johnson turned in a disappointing preseason, finishing with eight catches for 73 scoreless yards. He was shipped to injured reserve prior to final cuts due to a shoulder issue.

The 6-foot, 192-pound wideout was a fairly decorated collegian, earning second-team All-MAC honors in 2016 and third-team All-MAC honors in 2018. Johnson compiled 2,265 yards and 25 touchdowns on 125 receptions across 46 appearances for the Rockets.

Nail in Cowboys Coffin?

The 24-year-old requires a small miracle to crack Dallas’ 55-man regular-season squad. At the absolute minimum, he could desperately use camp reps if only to potentially latch on elsewhere. Now, there’s next-to-no chance Johnson survives a logjammed WR room that features Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, Devin Smith, and Cedrick Wilson.

Johnson and his COVID-listed ilk are an unfortunate reminder of these unprecedented times, in which lesser-known but talented players are stuck behind the figurative eight-ball. It’s extremely difficult to make the team as a former UDFA during a normal year. In 2020, with limited practice time and zero exhibition tuneups, it’s essentially impossible.

Johnson is a future candidate for release as the Cowboys trim their roster to the 80-player capacity by the Aug. 16 deadline.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL