Dallas Cowboys cut-down analysis

Most significant move: After cutting Sterling Moore, the Cowboys have only four cornerbacks on their 53-man roster with Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Orlando Scandrick and rookie B.W. Webb.

Moore was a late-season pickup off New England’s practice squad last year and offered versatility with his ability to play in the slot. Webb struggled in two of the five preseason games, giving up two touchdowns in Thursday’s loss to Houston.

Claiborne did not play in any of the preseason games because of a sore knee, but he must be ready to play in the season opener against the New York Giants.

The roster is hardly settled and the Cowboys will likely have their eye on cornerbacks by other teams.

While there are a few surprise players on the 53-man roster, the biggest might be Nate Livings, last year’s starting left guard. He did not play in the preseason because of a second surgery on his right knee in six months and does not appear to be close to returning anytime soon.

The Cowboys faced a financial question on Livings because his $1.7 million base salary is fully guaranteed. Whether he is on the roster or not, he would count $2.4 million against the cap this year.

Even if he were healthy, Livings would not have been a lock to start again. The Cowboys are ready to go with Ronald Leary, who is also recovering from knee surgery and missed three preseason games.

Wait til next year: Safety Matt Johnson did not play in a game last year because of recurring hamstring injuries and was eventually placed on injured reserve in November. He was placed on injured reserve Saturday, ending his season because of a foot injury suffered in the Aug. 4 Hall of Fame Game against Miami.

The hope in the offseason was that Johnson could compete for a starting spot but he was felled again by injury.

While the Cowboys could not hold a roster spot for him for a second straight year, they did not want to give up on eventually getting something out of their 2012 fourth-round pick, so the injured reserve made the most sense.

Why didn’t the Cowboys put him on the returnable injured reserve list? He would have had to have spent one day on the active roster and then made the switch to IR. The roster spot was too valuable.

What’s next: Do not expect this to be the 53-man roster for the season opener against the Giants. The Cowboys will look at the waiver wire for upgrades to the bottom end of the roster.

Possible additions could come at the offensive and defensive lines, linebacker and cornerback. They have few experienced backups at defensive line and linebacker.

There are several players the Cowboys would like to get to the practice squad provided they clear waivers, like Alex Tanney, Jason Vega, Micah Pellerin and Brandon Magee.

Cowboys moves: QB: Alex Tanney; WR: Tim Benford, Danny Coale, Anthony Armstrong; RB: Kendial Lawrence; DB: Micah Pellerin, Xavier Brewer, Jakar Hamilton, Sterling Moore; LB: Brandon Magee, Caleb McSurdy, Cameron Lawwrence, Taylor Reed; DE: Thaddeus Gibson, Jabari Fletcher, Jerome Long, Jason Vega; OL: Ray Dominguez, Demetress Bell, Edawn Coughman, Kevin Kowalski; IR: S Matt Johnson