IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys kept four undrafted rookies on their initial 53-man roster Saturday. Maybe having so many bargain-bin finds made it easier for Jerry Jones to swallow the nearly $1.8 million salary of reserve receiver Sam Hurd.
Hurd's value on special teams apparently made him worth keeping him around, especially after trading receiver Patrick Crayton and his $2 million salary to San Diego on Friday.
Hurd is at the back end of a receiving group led by starters Miles Austin and Roy Williams, and first-round pick Dez Bryant. The Cowboys also are high on Kevin Ogletree, a second-year player. That's it, though, as Jesse Holley and Manny Johnson were among 20 players released Saturday to reach the league-mandated deadline.
Safeties Barry Church and Danny McCray, fullback Chris Gronkowski and offensive lineman Phil Costa were the rookie free agents who earned jobs.
Nose tackle Junior Siavii, cornerback Cletis Gordon and linebackers Steve Octavien and Curtis Johnson are guys who played last season but aren't coming back.
Siavii was a solid backup to Jay Ratliff, but rookie Josh Brent beat him out. Gordon often was talked about by coach Wade Phillips for making plays in practice, while Octavien was among the better special teams players. Dallas cut another key special teamer, Pat Watkins, earlier in the week.
Also cut were offensive linemen Will Barker, Travis Bright and Mike Tepper, defensive ends Marcus Dixon and Jimmy Saddler-McQueen, linebacker Brandon Sharpe and defensive back Teddy Williams.
Things could still change, though, even with Hurd, as the club looks over the list of players cut by other teams.
The Cowboys also have their eight-man practice squad to fill out. Many of those spots will go to young guys they just cut, if they clear waivers.