Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job


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Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job
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Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job
© Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

It's a brutal day in the NFL for many, as teams around the league hacked down their rosters from 80 players to the mandatory count of 53 by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, August 31. For the Dallas Cowboys, that definitely meant aiming the hatchet at their quarterback room -- having spent all of July and August trying to figure out who'll back up two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Dak Prescott. It was Garrett Gilbert entering training camp and the preseason as the front-runner, but things changed toward the end of August, when Cooper Rush asserted himself against the Arizona Cardinals.

It felt like the decision had been made at that point, and it turns out it had -- despite Gilbert playing well in the preseason finale. The Cowboys released Gilbert during final cutdowns, sources tell CBS Sports, sending him to waivers alongside Ben DiNucci and effectively coronating Rush as QB2, at least for the moment. Sources also note the Cowboys will keep an eye on the waiver wire in the event a QB comes free that they feel is an upgrade over Rush. Should that not happen, it'll be the familiar face of Rush behind Prescott in 2021.

The writing has been on the wall for quite a while regarding DiNucci, who said earlier this offseason that his poor NFL debut as a rookie "wasn't me out there." It appears it was, however, when looking at his poor play in this year's preseason that included four interceptions and nearly several more, if they weren't dropped by opposing players. DiNucci dominated at James Madison University but has been a disappointment in the NFL thus far, and now his time in Dallas is over. Time will tell if it's only for a day or so, because there's still a chance DiNucci gets more time to develop on the practice squad.

The same applies to Gilbert, who is eligible for the 16-man unit and who has done infinitely more than DiNucci in proving he belongs in Dallas. But, for now, both are hitting the waiver wire and waiting to see what their next NFL move will be.

Check out the complete list of Cowboys cuts -- updated as they filter in -- and be sure to refer back to the CBS Sports final roster projection for Dallas to see which ones are expected and which are a complete surprise.

Keep in mind, there will be several players on the current active roster moved to IR on Wednesday and soon thereafter, and players will be activated from the COVID/Reserve list as well this week, which means several of the players released on Tuesday will likely be re-signed before the week is out (e.g., Jeremy Sprinkle, Jake McQuaide).

  • Ben DiNucci, QB
  • Garrett Gilbert, QB
  • Isaac Alarcon, OL (IPP exemption)
  • Steven Parker, S
  • Eric Smith, OT
  • Tyler Coyle, S
  • Austin Faoliu, DT
  • Ron'Dell Carter, DL 
  • Darian Thompson, S
  • Osirus Mitchell, WR
  • JaQuan Hardy, RB 
  • Braylon Jones, OL
  • Brendan Knox, RB
  • Brandon Smith, WR 
  • Johnnie Dixon, WR
  • Aaron Parker, WR 
  • Reggie Davis, WR 
  • Nick Ralston, FB 
  • Artayvious Lynn, TE 
  • Jeremy Sprinkle, TE 
  • Nick Eubanks, TE 
  • Justin Hamilton, DT 
  • Jake McQuaide, LS

Excited for the new Cowboys season? We are too! Download the CBS Sports app and get the latest insights from Patrik Walker, who's on the ground in Dallas. Plus, get the latest Dak Prescott news, Ezekiel Elliott predictions, and much more from our team of experts. If you already have the app, you need to set the Cowboys as your favorite team for up-to-the-second news and analysis.

Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job
Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job
Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job
Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job
Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job
Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job
  • Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job
  • Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job
  • Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job
  • Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job
  • Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job
  • Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job
  • Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job
  • Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job
  • Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job
  • Cowboys 2021 roster cuts: Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci released, Cooper Rush initially lands QB2 job