If Jason Garrett proved anything last year, it's that he’s not concerned with the name or number on the jersey, evident by his surprising release of five-time Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode in favor of little-known Phil Costa.
Don’t expect that kind of stunning move this year, but don't expect all the veterans to be safe, either. There are a few players, including two who have been around since 2005, who might not be here come cut day.
Here’s a look at a few bubble players still fighting for a roster spot with two preseason games to play:
- Marcus Spears (DE, 8th year, 2005 first-round pick and a seven-year starter) -- Spears has been a staple with the Cowboys’ defense for a while, and he is considered one of the locker room leaders. But his time with the club could be up, especially if the Cowboys are looking to save a few dollars. Spears’ $2 million base salary wouldn’t be too much, except for the fact that he’s not starting. Spears is currently playing behind Kenyon Coleman with the second-team defense. The tricky part is that Spears has played very well in preseason games, albeit against second-team competition. It seems like it’ll be an either/or with Spears or Coleman.
- Kenyon Coleman (DE, 11th year, has also played for Raiders and Jets) -- While he’s currently starting with the first group, he’s not exactly safe. It’d be easier for the Cowboys to cut Coleman, who is a free agent next year and wouldn’t have to pay his $1.9 million base salary. His familiarity in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s scheme has given him an advantage. But if he’s not head and shoulders above Spears, the Cowboys could decide to part ways with Coleman, who is on his second stint with the Cowboys.
- L.P. Ladouceur (LS, 7th year, no errant snaps in career) -- This one is a long shot, but the Cowboys wouldn’t mind getting younger and cheaper at deep snapper. But the bigger question is, do the Cowboys have the guts to make the move? L.P. Ladouceur has been near perfect since joining the team in 2005. If the Cowboys decide to go with rookie Charley Hughlett, it will be a big risk, considering he has no NFL experience. Ladouceur makes $790,000 in base salary and is in the final year of his contract, which likely won’t be renewed anyway.
- Andre Holmes (WR, 1st year; practice squad in 2011, preseason favorite to claim No. 3 spot) -- There has never been a doubt about the first two receiver spots, but after that it has been a crapshoot all summer. Holmes was a favorite to claim that spot, with his 6-5 height and lanky frame. But aside for a three-catch, 40-yard game in Oakland, Holmes hasn’t been that impressive. Now he’s got a nagging back injury that could keep him out of Saturday’s game with the Rams. It’s unlikely the Cowboys will give up on him, but his chances of being No. 3 are unlikely at this point.
- David Arkin (G/C, 2nd year, fourth-round pick in 2011) -- After spending his rookie season on the inactive list for all 16 games, Arkin appeared to be on the outside looking in when training camp began. But thanks to all three centers being injured in camp, Arkin got a chance to learn a new position. While there have been struggles, there has been some improvement as well. The Cowboys have to decide how much upside there is with Arkin, who will likely continue to work at center when Phil Costa returns.
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