Cowboys cut veteran safety Pat Watkins

Safety Pat Watkins’ career with the Cowboys is over after four seasons.

The Cowboys cut Watkins, who started 10 games and served as a core special teams player since being picked in the fifth round of the 2006 draft, on Monday morning. He ranked second on the Cowboys with 18 special teams tackles last season and led them with 25 in 2007.

The Cowboys also released a pair of undrafted rookies, wide receiver Terrell Hudgins and tight end Scott Sicko.

Watkins was expendable because of the emergence of undrafted rookie safeties Danny McCray and Barry Church. McCray appears capable of replacing Watkins on special teams. Church has more potential as a safety. McCray and Church would combine to make less than Watkins’ $1.176 million salary.

A knee injury sidelined Watkins for most of training camp, keeping him from fighting for his job.

“Damn they released my best friend this morning,” Martellus Bennett tweeted. “Get healthy bro. Still here in spirit. Pray for Pat to get healthy and land on his feet.”

The Cowboys needed to trim the roster to 75 by 3 p.m. Tuesday. They will complete the process by putting tight end John Phillips on the injured reserve and linebacker Stephen Hodge on the physically unable to perform list.