The Dallas Cowboys have completed their roster maneuvers for the time being. 53 players are on the official roster and though a number of changes are expected over the next 24 hours with waiver claims, IR designations and the like on the way, it is interesting to note where the roster is right now.
Our good friend Jimmy Kempski of the Philly Voice (noted Cowboys enthusiast) does an annual cutdown day article looking at the average age of the NFL rosters. In it, he looks at not just the initial 53-man roster from 2022, but the prior four seasons as well. Readers can see the transition each franchise makes from one to the next and it turns out the Cowboys are in the young cycle once again. Their average age of 25.2 ranked third, just behind team with averages of 25.0 and 25.1 years.
Teams don’t admit it publicly, but they tend to build their rosters with three-year cycles in mind. That’s the competitive window before a knock-it-out-the-park draft class all comes due for extensions and things get more complicated when it comes to cap compliance. A team better be young when those rookie phenoms become veterans to stack on top of veterans who already have new deals.
There are many different ways to build a roster, of course, but teams never want to religiously stay atop the rankings as this year’s No. 1 has, the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland has been second, third, fourth, third and now first over the last five seasons. That’s a failure to groom and retain talent. The other end of the spectrum, continuously having an older roster can be a mixed bag as well.
Anyway, Dallas has made their turnover. In 2018 they had the third-youngest roster to start, then went the free-agency (and trade) route and ballooned up to 24th in 2019. Since, they’ve returned to the light, being the 12th-youngest in 2020, the ninth-youngest in 2021 and now they are the third youngest yet again.
The caveat, of course, is that Dallas seemingly released four vested veterans who will all be brought back in the next 24 hours and they will skyrocket the average quite a bit. QB Cooper Rush (28), ST ace C.J. Goodwin (32), long snapper Jake McQuaide (34) and kicker Brett Maher (32) have an average age of 31.5.
Even if they replace players of average Dallas age, 25.2 Dallas only falls to a tie for seventh (wrongly assuming all other teams remain with stagnant rosters).