The Dallas Cowboys released defensive tackle Dontari Poe and cornerback Daryl Worley, moves that Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported were the result of the team being unable to find trades for the veterans.
The Cowboys' defense has been a disaster during the team's 2-5 start. The unit ranks 27th in yards allowed per game (408.1) and last in points allowed per game (34.7).
Dallas has given up at least 20 points in every game and allowed its opponent to top 30 points in five of its seven contests. Both of its wins were shootouts, 40-39 over the Atlanta Falcons and 37-34 over the New York Giants before quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has faced repeated questions about defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, but he's resisted calls for a change.
"I'm OK with Mike Nolan. I am," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan radio last week.
Instead, it sounds like Dallas is going to overhaul its defensive personnel, with Poe and Worley among the players the team is moving on from.
Poe made back-to-back Pro Bowls in 2013 and 2014 with the Kansas City Chiefs. His production has faded since that peak, and he's made a minimal impact across seven appearances with the Cowboys, recording seven total tackles and no sacks.
Worley has been similarly ineffective. He's tallied 14 tackles, one pass defended and no interceptions in seven games.
The Cowboys don't have a ton of proven depth defensively, with rookie Neville Gallimore likely to take over at tackle and Anthony Brown likely the next man up at corner, so Wednesday's moves won't answer all of the team's problems on defense.
It's been clear the team needed some type of change on that side of the ball, however, and moving on from Poe and Worley is part of the process.