IRVING (AP) — The Dallas Cowboys have decided to keep safety Matt Johnson even though their fourth-round pick from last year is going to spend his second straight season on injured reserve.
Johnson was spared being cut as the Cowboys trimmed their roster to 53 on Saturday. He had a stress reaction in his left foot in the preseason opener after spending all of last season on IR because of hamstring problems.
Alex Tanney, who was a consideration as a third quarterback behind Tony Romo and Kyle Orton, was among the cuts along with undrafted free agent linebacker Brandon Magee, who got a $70,000 signing bonus. Tanney and Magee are candidates for the practice squad if they clear waivers.
The other cuts were receivers Anthony Armstrong, Danny Coale and Tim Benford; running back Kendial Lawrence; defensive backs Sterling Moore, Jakar Hamilton, Xavier Brewer and Micah Pellerin; offensive linemen Edawn Coughman, Demetress Bell, Ray Dominguez and Kevin Kowalski; linebackers Taylor Reed, Cameron Lawrence and Caleb McSurdy; and defensive linemen Jerome Long, Jabari Fletcher, Thaddeus Gibson and Jason Vega.
Dallas later acquired linebacker Edgar Jones from Kansas City for an undisclosed draft pick and created a roster spot for him by putting guard Nate Livings on injured reserve. Livings had arthroscopic knee surgery early in training camp.
The Cowboys also renegotiated the contract of special teams ace and safety Danny McCray. Terms weren't released, but the team's website reported McCray's salary was going down from $1.3 million to $700,000. He was the team's second-leading tackler last year because of injuries at safety.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he considered Johnson an addition to this year's roster since he never got a chance to play last year. Johnson initially thought he would only be out a few days after getting injured while running downfield to make a tackle in a victory over Miami in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 4. But he never got back on the field.
"Unfortunately he has had legitimate injuries that he didn't have in college," executive vice president of player personnel Stephen Jones said earlier in the week. "But we did our research. He wasn't an injury guy. But we haven't given up on him."
The Cowboys were intrigued by Tanney, a second-year player from tiny Monmouth College in Illinois. He spent last season on injured reserve in Kansas City and didn't sign with Dallas until the first day of training camp.
Tanney's final audition was Thursday's 24-6 preseason loss to Houston. He played all but one series and couldn't get Dallas in the end zone, although he was under heavy pressure and ended up getting sacked seven times. He was 40 of 73 passing for 423 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in the preseason.
The release of Moore was a little bit surprising because the Cowboys are somewhat thin at cornerback, and Morris Claiborne didn't play a preseason game because of a jammed left knee. He is expected to be ready for the opener Sept. 8 against the New York Giants.
Dallas released two draft picks from last year. Coale was a fifth-rounder who sustained a stress fracture in his foot during offseason workouts last year and tore a knee ligament in practice during the season. McSurdy went in the seventh round but tore an Achilles tendon during a non-contact drill in the preseason last year.