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Cowboys releasing DT Dontari Poe, CB Daryl Worley after no trade market develops

The Dallas Cowboys aren't done shedding veteran defensive players.

After trading Everson Griffen to Detroit for a conditional sixth-round pick on Tuesday, the Cowboys are moving on from two more defensive players.

Dallas is cutting defensive tackle Dontari Poe and cornerback Daryl Worley after trying to trade both players, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported earlier Wednesday morning that the Cowboys informed the pair that they would be released if they couldn't trade them Wednesday. Dallas couldn't, so it cut ties with Poe and Worley.

Poe signed a two-year, $9 million contract in Dallas this season as part of an offseason revamp along the line that has utterly failed. Poe has been dreadful this season against both the run and pass. Despite playing 253 snaps -- the most of any Cowboys interior defender this season -- the 30-year-old has generated just seven tackles and zero sacks. Pro Football Focus charted Poe with one single hurry in seven games, his only pressure of the season.

Poe also garnered notice as the only Cowboys player to kneel during the "Star-Spangled Banner" ahead of games in a demonstration for racial equality and social justice. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that did not factor into the decision to cut Poe.

"When you're 30 pounds overweight and you're not doing anything about what's keeping you from performing well on the field, there is no reason to get into the other stuff," Jones told ESPN. "We have a platform here but the platform on the football field has a high standard, and [Poe] was not up to the standard. He needed to correct that and he did not. I'm going to leave it at that."

Worley has been no better, giving up chunk plays in the passing game, and has allowed 10 of 12 targets his way to be completed. Worley has played 246 snaps for the Cowboys this season, behind only Jourdan Lewis and rookie Trevon Diggs.

Moving on from the veterans is the start of a needed overhaul for a Cowboys defense that has been historically bad through seven weeks. Dallas ranks last in points per game allowed (34.7 -- worst in franchise history), last in offensive TDs per game allowed (3.9), last in rushing yards per game allowed (178.3), and 27th in total yards allowed (27th). The 34.7 points per game would be the second-highest in a single season by a team in the Super Bowl era if Dallas keeps up the pace.

Changes on defense are needed if Dallas is to turn it around and recapture the NFC East lead.

Cowboys fans seeing the decisions to move on from veteran defensive players are likely sharing a similar thought: When might DC Mike Nolan be the one to get his walking papers?

For now, Dallas will settle for reshuffling the deck and hoping for better results from a defense that hasn't stopped the leaking at all this year and has struggled to adapt week-to-week. If the moves don't change anything, it's only a matter of time before the finger finally lands on Nolan.

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