Cowboys Release Veteran DE Amid Odell Beckham Jr. Pursuit: Report

Tarell Basham

Getty Dallas Cowboys defensive end Tarell Basham pursues a quarterback during an NFL game.

The Dallas Cowboys are trimming the roster down as they prep for the Indianapolis Colts and continue their pursuit of Odell Beckham Jr.

Beckham’s free agency saga continues to be one of the biggest ongoing stories in the NFL, and the Cowboys are right in the thick of it as they look into signing the 30-year-old wide receiver.

But in the meantime, they are cutting down the roster with the release of defensive end Tarell Basham. NFL media insider Tom Pelissero was the first to report the news with a post on Twitter on November 29.

“The #Cowboys are waiving DE Tarell Basham, per source,” Pelissero posted. “Dallas had a surplus at the position. A pass rusher on waivers.”

It will be interesting to see what kind of interest Basham generates as a player who has shown he can find the quarterback while in Dallas and with the New York Jets. Of course, the thought that this roster spot is for Beckham comes to mind, but the receiver isn’t set to visit Dallas until early next week.

Keeping a roster spot open for that long doesn’t make sense, so Dallas could be promoting a practice squad player to a full-time role or adding another free agent.

Basham Carving Out NFL Career

After honing his skill at Ohio University, Basham was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round of the 2017 NFL draft. However, it’s safe to say his time in Indy wasn’t exactly ideal.

Pro Football Reference shows that Basham earned two sacks as a rookie in limited opportunities, but he was waived by the Colts by October of the following season after playing just once in 2018.

The Jets swooped in to give Basham a chance, and didn’t see much initial return on their investment. But Basham began to produce in 2019, earning two sacks and catching an interception alongside six passes defended.

After 3.5 sacks and a whopping three forced fumbles with New York in 2020, Basham swapped the Big Apple for Arlington. The defensive end signed a two-year deal with Dallas that was set to run out after this season.

Basham contributed effectively for the Cowboys last year with 3.5 sacks and 21 solo tackles, but struggled to find game time this year (2 appearances) with Micah Parsons, Demarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong and others in front of him.

Cowboys Want Beckham to Play This Year

ACL injuries are never ones to rush back from, but Dallas is in an interesting predicament with OBJ. There’s no doubt the Cowboys want a full-strength Beckham, but they may not have the time to allow that.

Jones alluded to that issue during an interview with 105.3 The Fan on November 29, saying that the receiver is only a realistic option if he can contribute in Dallas’ run to the playoffs.

“This year has to be a big part of it,” Jones said on the program according to The Athletic’s Jon Machota. “We have six regular-season games and the playoffs, so in my mind, we have almost the whole show ahead of us. We got to have a situation where he can really contribute now.”

It makes sense: the Cowboys have a major opportunity to make it deep in the playoffs, and any reinforcements have to raise the ceiling for this season.

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