The Dallas Cowboys are letting go of a young, talented defensive end in their latest roster move after a major addition.
The Cowboys made waves on September 5 by adding nine-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro Jason Peters, adding a much-needed presence at the tackle position. With tackle Tyron Smith out for potentially the whole season, Dallas had to find a replacement and the former Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears star is the answer.
In return, the Cowboys have to make space on the roster, which has led to the release of defensive end Mike Tafua, according to Dallas Morning News reporter Michael Gehlken.
“Cowboys have released DE Mika Tafua from practice squad to make room for LT Jason Peters,” Gehlken Tweeted on September 5.
Tafua had joined the Cowboys earlier in the offseason after going undrafted in the 2022 NFL draft, doing well enough to earn a spot on the practice squad. However, the arrival of Peters in a much-needed place has meant that the young defender has to find a new team.
Tafua Makes a Name for Himself
While Tafua is now without a team just days before the NFL regular season is set to begin, he has had a tremendous past 12 months and is giving himself a serious chance at a career in the league.
His rise in development started with his final year at Utah, in which the 6-foot-3 defensive end totaled 9.5 sacks in 14 games according to Sports Reference. He added 13 tackles for loss to boot, and his sack and TFL totals were both career highs.
Despite his explosive final season with the Utes, Tafua was not drafted and the Cowboys swooped in to nab him as a free agent. As a rookie, he could have been an easy cut for Dallas throughout the spring and summer, but he never lost his spot.
Tafua was waived in the final round of roster cuts on August 30, but Dallas made it a point to bring the defensive lineman to the practice squad.
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Peters Arrives in Dallas After Time With Bears, Eagles
After Cowboys owner Jerry Jones confirmed that Dallas was talking to Peters on September 2, it seemed inevitable that the 40-year-old would join the team. Now, just 48 hours later, Peters has put pen to paper.
Dallas shared a photo of the offensive lineman signing on Monday morning.
Peters then engaged with local media and reporters to discuss his arrival in Dallas.
“‘I’m excited. This my home state… I don’t call [the #Cowboys] arrogant. I call it swagger.’ – Jason Peters on once calling Dallas arrogant. “I couldn’t pass it up — playing for the Cowboys. … When Jerry called, I came,'” DallasCowboys.com writer Patrik Walker Tweeted.
Obviously, Peters’ time in Philly makes this move more dramatic than an average free agent pickup. But any bad blood appears to be behind the player and the team, and now Peters is focused on what he can do in Dallas.
That means handling business on the field, but it also means teaching rookie tackle and 2022 first-round pick Tyler Smith.
‘I’m gonna help him out — on and off the field — his technique and rhythm.’ – Jason Peters has already begun coaching up #Cowboys first-round pick Tyler Smith Expect Peters to be ready ‘in a couple weeks’, and he’ll do ‘whatever they need’. Open to LT2, will help rookie,” Walker tweeted.