A notable offseason signing for the Dallas Cowboys could be in “danger” entering first cuts.
As the Cowboys prepare to trim down their roster to 85 players by Tuesday, August 16, there might be one surprising veteran who could be cut earlier than expected. According to David Howman of SB Nation’s Blogging the Boys, Dallas could move on from defensive end Dante Fowler. Howman lists eight Cowboys who could be part of first cuts on Tuesday, with Fowler the biggest name on the list.
The 28-year-old did not have an impressive Cowboys debut in the team’s preseason opener versus the Denver Broncos. Fowler was benched in the first half after committing a roughing the passer penalty in the first half. Howman argues that Fowler’s “quiet” camp combined with rookie Sam Williams’ impressive showing could lead to the former’s dismissal.
“Fowler is also playing at a loaded position, one that has seen rookie Sam Williams emerge more and more each day while Fowler has been largely quiet,” says Howman. “Fowler was one of the Cowboys’ “big” free agent signings, but his contract certainly isn’t one that would preclude the team from cutting him if they decide they want to do that. This might be a player to watch even if he survives this first round of cuts.”
Fowler Has Failed to Live up to Draft Billing
The former No. 3 overall draft pick signed with the Cowboys in the offseason, inking a one-year deal worth $3 million. The move reunited Fowler with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who served as his head coach while the two were members of the Atlanta Falcons.
Fowler’s familiarity with Quinn’s system certainly played a role in his signing, but the veteran defensive end has failed to live up to his billing as a top draft pick. While Fowler showed his potential during his 11.5 sack season with the Los Angeles Rams in 2019, he has failed to eclipse the 4.5 sack mark in four of his other five seasons in the league.
Dorance Armstrong is currently considered the team’s starting right defensive end and there’s been little indication that Fowler will leap Armstrong — especially after his benching in the preseason opener.
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Analyst: Cowboys Could Cut Either Fowler or Basham
Howman isn’t the only analyst who believes the Cowboys could move on from Fowler. K.D. Drummond of Cowboys Wire also predicts Fowler could be a “shocking” cut for Dallas.
“Dallas could certainly roll with six DEs, but if they need depth elsewhere, the decision might come down to which veteran looks to be more valuable between these two guys,” Drummond says. Both [Fowler Jr. and DE Tarell Basham] come with a significant dead money penalty of at least $1 million (Basham: $1.25 million). From a glass-half full perspective, cutting either would result in at least $1.75 million worth of savings.”
Drummond has a point — the Cowboys could very well decide to move on from one of their two veteran backup defensive ends. Assuming Fowler isn’t cut after his disastrous team debut, he’ll likely have two more preseason games and the rest of the month to prove his value.
If he has more clunkers as he did versus the Broncos, Fowler’s Cowboys career may be over before it even starts.