The Dallas Cowboys are preparing for their NFC Divisional round matchup against the San Francisco 49ers by making a few notable roster moves.
Dallas has seen many shifts to the roster over the course of this January and December of 2022 as the team has attempted to upgrade areas and fix problems in places like the secondary. Now, Trayvon Mullen, one of the options to help the defensive back group, is back on the outs.
Dallas Morning News reporter Michael Gehlken was the first to report the news on January 21.
“Cowboys are signing G/T Aviante Collins to the 53-man roster, a person familiar with the decision said,” Gehlken wrote on Twitter. “He earned opportunity on practice squad. CB Trayvon Mullen waived in a corresponding move.”
More on this below, but Mullen received limited opportunities with the Cowboys but it’s apparent that Dallas felt like he was now in excess to the squad. That may be due to the presence of recently-signed corner Xavier Rhodes, or it could be due to other factors.
Cowboys Elevate Rhodes, One Other for 49ers Game
The secondary, and more specifically the corner positions, have been an issue for Dallas in the 2022 campaign. Injuries to players like starting CB Anthony Brown and struggling play from next men up like Kelvin Joseph has forced the Cowboys to try several different solutions.
The latest is Rhodes, who was a first-team All-Pro with the Minnesota Vikings in 2017 and had three Pro Bowl appearances to boot. For the second consecutive game, the 32-year-old is being activated to the active roster from the practice squad.
“Cowboys also elevating CB Xavier Rhodes and C/G Brock Hoffman from practice squad,” Gehlken wrote. “Aviante Collins and Hoffman give the team eight offensive linemen active for Sunday’s playoff game at 49ers. Josh Ball the other reserve.”
Rhodes had an interesting debut for Dallas against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, registering three solo tackles and playing a relatively quiet game with just 24 defensive snaps. His first game with the Cowboys being a tune-up makes plenty of sense, but now the question is: how will head coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn utilize Rhodes against 49ers QB Brock Purdy?
Mullen Out of Dallas After Time with Raiders, Cardinals
Mullen’s debut with the Cowboys coincided with one of the team’s worst performances of the season in the 26-6 loss to the Washington Commanders in Week 18. That being said, Mullen didn’t do much to help in the regular season finale.
Pro Football Reference states that Mullen was targeted four times, allowing two completions for 58 yards and making no solo tackles in the contest. Mullen played 35 snaps against the Commanders.
The 25-year-old corner was then a healthy scratch for the Super Wild Card round against the Buccaneers, which may have been the beginning of the end for the corner, especially with Rhodes being an active participant in Tampa Bay.
Mullen will now try to find his fourth team as he enters his fifth year in the NFL in 2023. Mullen had a tremendous first two years in the league with 24 total passes defended and three interceptions over the course of 2019 and 2020.
He has proven that he can perform at the NFL level, but his future currently doesn’t lie with the Cowboys.