Sometimes I think the Dallas Cowboys are content playing checkers when they could have been playing chess. That's the impression I got when the 2020 NFL trade deadline came and went yesterday with the only trades were sending Everson Griffen to the Detroit Lions for a sixth-round pick and acquiring Eli Ankou from the Houston Texans for a seventh-rounder. I think they might've missed an opportunity, especially in regards to Aldon Smith.
According to reports the Dallas Cowboys turned down a trade offer from the Seattle Seahawks regarding Aldon Smith. Now no trade compensation has been leaked, but with the way No. 58 has played this season anything less than a fifth or sixth-round pick is unlikely. If it were me, I would've made this transaction in a heartbeat and I'll tell you why.
The Dallas Cowboys claimed the reason they didn't trade Aldon Smith is because they have future plans for him beyond the 2020 season. Well that's good and all, but I don't think trading him away would necessarily put an end to those plans. In fact, there's no reason to believe it would have impacted them at all except not having him on the roster for the second half of the year.
The cold hard truth is whether the Dallas Cowboys traded Aldon Smith or not he's still going to become a free agent at season's end. As such they are going to have to compete with other suitors in order to retain his service and the better he plays, the higher his price tag will be. That's not good news for the cash strapped Cowboys.
It's not completely out of the realm of possibility Aldon Smith plays himself out of the Cowboys price range before the season is over. It wouldn't really matter if he was on their roster or another teams, bringing him back in free agency next year is going to be all about the money. That's something Dallas might not have much of it they re-sign Dak Prescott.
With all of that in mind, if I were the Dallas Cowboys I would've went ahead and accepted a fifth or sixth-round draft pick for Aldon Smith and told him prior to leaving that we really want to put him back in a Cowboys uniform for the 2021 season and beyond. That way you're at least getting some kind of compensation before knowing one way or another if he can be retained in the offseason.
Making this trade would've given Aldon Smith a chance to compete for a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks and not left the Dallas Cowboys empty-handed. And surprisingly enough, they'd still have the same chance as they do now of re-signing him as a free agent. Sounds like a win-win to me. What do you think?
Of course, this is one of those “what if” situations all we can do now is speculate about because it's already over and done with. In hindsight though, there's a very real possibility the Dallas Cowboys missed an opportunity by holding onto an asset they don't really need anymore in 2020.