The Dallas Cowboys had no major surprises in trimming their roster from 90 to 53 on Saturday.
As expected, undrafted free agent quarterback Cooper Rush made the team after an impressive preseason and could serve as Dak Prescott’s backup this season. Kellen Moore, the projected backup, was cut, but could rejoin the team as early as Sunday.
Moore is eligible for the practice squad, or could be the team’s third quarterback if they move tight end Rico Gathers to injured reserve.
Gathers is on the 53-man roster, but remains a candidate for IR as he’s still in concussion protocol. If Gathers wasn’t placed on the 53-man roster for at least a day, he wouldn’t have been able to return this season. If he goes on IR, he’ll miss the first eight weeks of the season.
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Wide receiver Noah Brown, a seventh-round pick, is also on the team, as owner Jerry Jones said Friday on his radio show.
The Cowboys bolstered their cornerback depth Saturday, trading for Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Bene Benwikere. The Cowboys are sending a conditional late-round draft pick in 2019 to the Bengals.
Benwikere was a 2014 fifth-round pick by Carolina. He has two interceptions in 27 career games.
Three draft picks did not make the cut — sixth-round cornerback Marquez White and seventh-round defensive tackles Joey Ivie and Jordan Carrell.
Other notable cuts include wide receiver Andy Jones, who spent last season on the practice squad, and offensive lineman Emmett Cleary, who spent most of last year on the active roster.
The Cowboys, like every other team in the NFL on Saturday, feel good about their roster going into the regular-season opener Sept. 10 vs. the New York Giants.
“We’re better [than last year]. I think we’re better,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan on Friday. “I like our depth on our offensive line better than we had back at this time last year, better. … I like our receiving corps better. Some of these young guys we’ve got, [Ryan] Switzer, are really adding some depth in there. [Brice] Butler has really looked better than he looked at this time last year. Tight end is one of our best positions and we’ve really got some depth there. So, I like all of that.
“Obviously this young quarterback Rush coming along as he has just absolutely has given us a twinkle in our eye. So, I like that better.
“From the standpoint of defense, Jaylon Smith is going to be a factor. [Anthony] Hitchens had his best camp. And we don’t have him early, but we will have him after a few games. But when I look across our front seven, we’re better. And I think we’ve got more talent in the secondary than we had last year because — now, not experience — but talent. We do have a little experience out there with [Anthony] Brown and [Orlando] Scandrick. So, I’m probably going too long here. This team is more talented. This team is better than this time last year.”
A look at the 53-man roster:
Quarterback (2): Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush.
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Running backs (4): Ezekiel Elliott, Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris, Rod Smith.
Fullback (1): Keith Smith.
Tight ends (4): Jason Witten, Geoff Swaim, James Hanna, Rico Gathers.
Wide receivers (6): Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, Brice Butler, Ryan Switzer, Noah Brown.
Offensive line (8): La’el Collins, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, Tyron Smith, Jonathan Cooper, Joe Looney, Chaz Green, Byron Bell.
Defensive line (8): DeMarcus Lawrence, Maliek Collins, Stephen Paea, Tyrone Crawford, Cedric Thornton, Benson Mayowa, Taco Charlton, Charles Tapper.
Linebackers (7): Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, Anthony Hitchens, Justin Durant, Damien Wilson, Kyle Wilber, Mark Nzeocha
Defensive backs (10): Orlando Scandrick, Byron Jones, Jeff Heath, Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, Nolan Carroll, Xavier Woods, Kavon Frazier, Bene Benwikere.
Specialists (3): Dan Bailey, Chris Jones, L.P. Ladouceur
Reserve/suspension (2): Damontre Moore, David Irving.
Reserve/injured (1): Duke Thomas.
The Dallas Cowboys hold a telethon to raise more than $2 million for Salvation Army Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. (Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison) McClatchyrmallison@star-telegram.com