Cowboys Cut Promising Rookie, Place Key Player on Injured Reserve

Mike McCarthy

Getty Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy looks on during an NFL game.

The Dallas Cowboys made a series of roster moves ahead of the team’s Week 2 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. Key pass rusher Tarell Basham was placed on injured reserve, while the team also released rookie nose tackle John Ridgeway. Dallas’ decision to keep Dak Prescott on the active roster partially led to the release of Ridgeway as the Cowboys have three quarterbacks on the 53-man.

Basham will miss at least four games as he recovers from a quad injury. The veteran defender played in all 17 games last season for Dallas, including six starts, notching 39 tackles, 11 quarterback hits, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Dallas signed both quarterback Cooper Rush and kicker Brett Maher to the 53-man roster, meaning they will no longer have to be moved up each week from the team’s practice squad. The Cowboys also elevated Will Grier and center Alec Lindstrom from the practice squad.

The Cowboys Hope to Re-Sign Ridgeway If He Clears Waivers: Report

Grier will now serve as the team’s backup quarterback with Dak Prescott sidelined. The Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken reported that the Cowboys plan to re-sign Ridgeway, but the rookie will be subject to waivers where the defender can be claimed by another team.

“Two roster spots cleared: Cowboys waived rookie NT John Ridgeway and placed DE Tarell Basham (thigh) on injured reserve, two people familiar with decisions said,” Gehlken tweeted on September 17. “Team hopes to re-sign Ridgeway to practice squad, but he first must clear waivers Monday at 3 p.m. CT.

Dallas Selected Ridgeway in the 5th Round of the 2021 NFL Draft

As a senior at Arkansas, Ridgeway had 39 tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks during his 11 appearances in 2021. Dallas selected Ridgeway in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL draft with the No. 178 overall pick. Heading into the draft,’s Lance Zierlein described the pass rusher as a “rotational lineman with upside.”

“College nose tackle with the size and length for consideration along the interior or as an odd front defensive end,” Zierlein detailed in his pre-draft profile. “Ridgeway is more wrestler than gap-eater when taking on blocks as a nose. He’s likely to be coveted by traits-based evaluators eager to develop the physical ingredients into a more polished product.

“While most of his experience has come at nose tackle, the sum of his parts might make more sense as a 3-4 defensive end, where his long arms and natural power would become more beneficial as an edge-setter. Regardless of position, he won’t offer much help as a pass rusher, so rotational lineman with upside is likely to become his tag as a Day 3 prospect.”

McCarthy on Offense Without Prescott: ‘We Don’t Feel Like There’s Any Limitations

As the Cowboys shuffled the roster in preparation for the Bengals, all eyes continue to be on the quarterbacks as Prescott recovers. Rush will take over the offense as the temporary starter, while Grier will be the backup. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy expects the offensive game plan to look similar to when the team’s star quarterback is on the field.

“As far as Cooper Rush, we don’t feel like there’s really any limitations on what we want to do,” McCarthy stated during a September 15 press conference. “He’s as rehearsed in this offense as anybody. Him and Kellen, they go back to prior to when I got here and that’s really the way we go about it. And it’s no different with the left guard, the left tackle — that’s all part of the game-plan process.”

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