Cowboys' roster could be in state of flux

OXNARD, Calif. -- As the Dallas Cowboys look to configure their 53-man roster after the suspension of Orlando Scandrick, the health of Anthony Spencer and the availability of Josh Brent could complicate the situation.

“You always have guys in different kinds of situations, whether it is an injury or something like this, that we are always balancing those decisions and really at the end of the day you want 53 guys who can play,” coach Jason Garrett said. “That’s what we’re looking for and that hasn’t changed. When we get closer to making the final cutdown, we might have to tweak things or massage things here or there. But that’s no different than the situations we’ve had to deal with in the past.

With Scandrick out the first four games, the Cowboys will have to go with a different cast of cornerbacks that they would not have needed if Scandrick could play. In my first few roster projections, I’ve gone with Brandon Carr, Scandrick, Morris Claiborne, Sterling Moore and Terrance Mitchell.

Scandrick will not count against the roster during his suspension, but his absence will open the door for B.W. Webb, Tyler Patmon, or a waiver-wire or trade pickup, at least for the first four weeks.

Spencer is on the physically-unable-to-perform list, but his recovery from microfracture surgery has picked up greatly in training camp. It remains doubtful that he could be ready for Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers, but if he can play in Week 2 or 3, then the Cowboys would not put him on reserve/PUP. If they did, he would guarantee missing the first six regular-season games.

“He is ahead of schedule by all accounts, but we’ll evaluate him day by day,” Garrett said. “He’s a hard worker, it’s very important to him, so you definitely see him making progress but that’s still a little bit a ways away.”

Brent is not yet a member of the Cowboys but once he is (or if he is) reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, then he will join the roster. He has not played in a game since Dec. 2012 and has not been with the team over the last two seasons.

While the Cowboys clearly like Brent, considering they keeping the door open for him, how quickly could he be ready after such a prolonged layoff?

With Spencer and possibly Brent uncertainties, the Cowboys could be in a position to carry more defensive linemen earlier in the season. To do that and be mindful of their cornerback situation, that would seem to eliminate the chances for a sixth wide receiver or put the fullback roster spot in jeopardy.

The Cowboys will have only so many luxuries when it is time to cut down the roster, and those luxuries will have fill the defensive needs.