DALLAS — All NFL teams have to get to 53 players on their active roster by 3:00 p.m. on Aug. 31.
Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters after the Dallas Cowboys' 34-14 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the preseason finale at AT&T Stadium Sunday that the cut down to 53 is one aspect of his job he doesn't enjoy.
”These are the worst days," McCarthy said of. "The next 24 hours is clearly the worst part of the job.”
The Cowboys are under the microscope and not just from being on "Hard Knocks." Teams all across the league are keeping tabs on other rosters to spot opportunities to send or acquire players and address areas of weakness.
"Everybody pays attention to where people are having injuries or where they might have a need," Cowboys COO Stephen Jones said on "K&C Masterpiece" on 105.3 "The Fan" [KRLD-FM] Monday. "We've got a great communication going out there, great network with all the teams, different relationships."
Jones says that the quartet of owner and general manager Jerry Jones, assistant director of player personnel Will McClay, coach Mike McCarthy, and Jones forms a grid of communication to evaluate the team's needs and how feasible the transactions are.
According to Jones, two areas where teams perceive the Cowboys have a need is at running back and tight end.
"Certainly people can turn on our tape and see where we might be long with some young players and they might be able to play, so, losing Rico [Dowdle] was a tough one for us," Jones said. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look into and see they need a third running back. So, you lose a [Sean] McKeon, our third tight end, they say, hey, they may need something there."
The Cowboys have tried to bolster the positions where the injury bug has bitten them. Fifth-year veteran Jeremy Sprinkle has remained on the roster at tight end to hold fort at the third tight end spot.
Undrafted rookies JaQuan Hardy and Brenden Knox have striven to replace Dowdle as the third running back behind Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.
"That's just, in general, that's how those conversations go," Jones said.
The Cowboys also have positions of depth on their roster. Linebacker is a deep group with rookie Micah Parsons, Pro Bowler Leighton Vander Esch, fourth-round rookie Jabril Cox, converted safety Keanu Neal, and Pro Bowler Jaylon Smith.
Cornerback is another spot where Dallas could offer a team a player between veterans Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis.
As teams begin to sift through roster decisions from across the league, the Cowboys will be looking to pounce if the right trade opportunity presents itself.
Do you see the Dallas Cowboys making additional moves to enhance their roster ahead of Week 1? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.