NFL Dallas Cowboys

5 Dallas Cowboys Who Should be Cut Before the 2014 NFL Season

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5 Players the Cowboys Should Ditch Before the 2014 Season

5 Players the Cowboys Should Ditch Before the 2014 Season
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

As is the case every year, the Dallas Cowboys will have to put a few players on the chopping block. From Roy Williams to Terence Newman and all the Marion Barbers in between, Dallas has had to unload some hefty contracts over the years for players who were washed up or simply never reached their potential. The problem is the Cowboys usually wait way too long to get rid of these worthless personnel pieces, which creates a backlog in the natural evolution of the team’s roster. That likely won’t change in 2014, but we’re going to take a look at a handful of players of which the Cowboys should rid themselves before taking the field for what will likely be a fourth straight 8-8 campaign.

Of course, ditching these players who aren’t earning their paychecks would likely prevent yet another .500 season for America’s Team, but let’s face it: Jerry Jones isn’t smart enough to figure that out. If he drafts a player No. 6 overall, that player is going to play until at least the final year of his contract before Jerry will consider cutting him, even if the player deserved to be cut after his second season. That probably gives away the No. 2 player on this list, but you get the idea.

So if you’re a Cowboys fan, get ready for the ugly truth that deep down you know is what’s best for the team, even if your personal feelings won’t let you admit it. If you’re not a Cowboys fan, get ready to give your water cooler buddies a new topic of discussion for today. Here are five players the Cowboys should cut before the 2014 NFL season.

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5. Jeff Heath

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Everyone in Dallas was rooting for Heath to make the active roster and he initially looked very promising playing safety alongside Barry Church. But then the new wore off and it became obvious Heath isn’t evan a solid backup option, much less a starter. Granted, Kiffin’s moronic scheme certainly played a role in sabotaging Heath’s debut season, but he simply can’t cut it from a pass-coverage standpoint. Dallas would be wise to invest in a legit strong safety for 2014 and beyond.

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4. Tyler Clutts

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The Cowboys definitely need a fullback while abandoning the 12-personnel offense they employed for the 2013 season. This transition bak to a sensible scheme will likely be made easier with a new offensive coordinator, but a legit fullback will be needed. Dallas foolishly let Tony Fiammetta walk after the 2011 season and now he’s making a name for himself in Chicago.

Solid, reliable fullbacks are hard to come by these days, but if the Cowboys are going to keep one on the roster, it doesn’t need to be Clutts. No corniness intended, but he lived up to his last name in limited work during the later part of this season.

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3. Joseph Randle

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It was only his rookie season, but it was obvious Randle simply isn’t cut out to run the ball in the NFL. Dallas has solid options at running back with DeMarco Murray, Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner already, so it really makes no sense to waste a roster spot with a running back who barely averaged three yards per carry in 2013.

If the Cowboys really wanted to keep four ball-carriers, then Randle isn’t a horrible fourth-string option, but the problem is he will be thrust into a starter’s role when (not if) Murray misses time due to injury and that will simply doom Dallas. Randle proved in his two and a half starts that he can’t handle a full game’s workload, so why keep him? It just doesn’t make sense.

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2. Morris Claiborne

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There’s something missing between Claiborne’s ears that case him to frequently screw up on the field. If it wasn’t obvious when he scored a 6 on his Wonderlic Test before the 2012 NFL Draft, it was definitely obvious when midway through the 2013 season he inadvertently said publicly he’s not smart enough to play zone coverage.

That, coupled with the facts he wasn’t willing to try and learn his new defensive coordinator’s scheme and he often gets beat in man coverage as well, should warrant a one-way ticket out of Dallas. Now to be fair, Monte Kiffin’s scheme was absolutely pathetic this year and was the primary reason the Cowboys finished the season as the worst statistical defense in franchise history. However, Claiborne proved this year he wasn’t worth trading up for the No. 6 overall pick two years ago. It’s time to make him someone else’s problem.

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1. Miles Austin

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At one time, Austin was the next big thing in Dallas. He was Tony Romo’s big-play threat and a reliable option on third down if Jason Witten was blanketed. Now he’s expendable because he can’t stay on the field and the Cowboys have other solid young receiving options that don’t cost nearly as much.

Austin was a crowd favorite in Dallas, but that was when he was by far the best receiver on the team. Now, Terrance Williams is breathing down the back of his neck on the depth chart while guys like Cole Beasley are proving they deserve more playing time as well.

Making Austin a post-June 1 roster cut would save the Cowboys $5 million in salary cap space, which will be critical in 2014, a year in which Jerry Jones will have to backload more contracts to stay under the cap. It just makes sense to set Austin free.