Sports Outside the Beltway

Cowboys Re-sign Ayodele to Replace Injured Ferguson

The Cowboys have signed twice-released defensive tackle Remi Ayodele to fill the roster spot filled by a season-ending injury to starter Jason Ferguson.

Remi Ayodele Dallas Cowboys PhotoWhile the Cowboys know replacing veteran Jason Ferguson will be a nearly impossible task, they at least filled his roster spot with a player familiar to their system. The Cowboys re-signed Remi Ayodele, the younger brother of Akin Ayodele, to the 53-man roster on Tuesday. Ayodele, who was with the club for all of training camp and the four preseason games, replaces Ferguson’s spot on the roster after the veteran was placed on injured reserve. Ferguson is expected to undergo surgery on Friday to repair a torn biceps tendon in his right arm.

While the Cowboys certainly will miss Ferguson’s leadership and 11 years of NFL experience, they can only hope Ayodele can bring more athleticism to the position as a backup to new starter Jay Ratliff. Ferguson actually called Ayodele “the quickest of all the defensive linemen,” and that includes both the ends and tackles.

Ayodele will be asked to spell Jay Ratliff, who takes over as the starter. A converted defensive end, Ratliff also has more quickness than Ferguson, who was considered more of a space-eater inside that clogs the middle.

Head coach Wade Phillips has said that Ratliff will likely have to play the position differently, using more stunts and even lining him up more in the gap as opposed to directly over the center. That’s the main reason why Phillips said all throughout training camp that he wanted one of the three young tackles battling for Ferguson’s backup spot to win the job. Ayodele was in that group, along with Montavious Stanley and Ola Dagunduro. Stanley and Dagunduro were released in the first wave of cuts on Aug. 27, while Ayodele was released on Sept. 2.

The Cowboys were hopeful to get Ayodele back to the practice squad, but he was claimed off waivers by the Falcons the next day. Ayodele, however, was released by Atlanta last Friday, making him available once again. Even before Ferguson’s injury, the Cowboys had intentions of signing Ayodele to at least the practice squad. Now, his services are needed in a greater capacity.

Indeed. The lack of depth at defensive tackle was one of the glaring holes pretty much everyone cited in the Cowboys’ roster even before the draft. They never found anyone, unfortunately, that fit their bill. Maybe Ratliff and Ayodele can prove them wrong.

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