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Big Money Players Dallas Cowboys Should Consider Trading Away

Big money contracts Cowboys should consider dumping via trade.

As things stand right now, the 2-5 Dallas Cowboys would be foolish to do any buying prior to the 2020 NFL Trade deadline next Tuesday (November 3). There’s not a single player out there worth the draft capital it would take to acquire their services. With the 2020 season all but doomed, it’s time to prepare for the future and getting rid of some big-money contracts could help do just that.

Dak Prescott is key to the Dallas Cowboys future in one way or another. Whether they sign him long-term, lock him up via franchise tag, or let him walk will determine what they have to work with as far as the salary cap is concerned next year. Whatever they do though money is going to be tight, which is why trading away a few big-money contracts should be seriously considered.

When it comes to big-money contracts I believe the Dallas Cowboys should consider trading away three players come to mind… Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and DeMarcus Lawrence. All three were locked up long-term in the past few years and all three should receive quite a bit of interest if put on the trade block. It’s tough to get rid of such talented players, but unfortunately money isn’t matching production.

Let me break this down a little better by player…

WR Amari Cooper

The Dallas Cowboys made Amari Cooper the fourth highest paid WR this season when they signed him to a five-year, $100 million contract extension with $40 million guaranteed. He’s currently the closest to living up to his high price tag compared to Ezekiel Elliott or DeMarcus Lawrence, which only helps his trade value.

Amari Cooper has become somewhat more of a luxury than a necessity with the Cowboys with the emergence of both Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb. Trading him away not only gives them more salary-cap space to work with, but also more drafted capital as well. A Stefon Diggs type of trade is reasonable considering Cooper is just as talented and actually a year younger.

Potential trade partners: Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints

RB Ezekiel Elliott

In 2019 the Dallas Cowboys signed Ezekiel Elliott to a six-year, $90 million contract extension. He is currently the third-highest running back in the NFL, although you wouldn’t know it by the way his production has dipped this season. At 25 years old he’smost fun still arguably one the most talented RBs in the league, which could be too enticing for some team to pass up.

Without their starting QB and a banged up offensive line, the Cowboys would be wise to consider fielding calls for Zeke’s services. With Tony Pollard capable of stepping in as the RB1, now is the best time to try to trade away No. 21’s big money contract. There are a few teams out there with young QBs still in the playoff hunt who could be interested in improving their rushing attack with Zeke.

Potential trade partners: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins

DE DeMarcus Lawrence

Like Zeke, the Dallas Cowboys signed DeMarcus Lawrence back in 2019 to a five-year, $105 million contract extension with $48 million guaranteed. He is currently the fourth highest paid edge rusher in the league and believe it or not he’s still the most talented player on the Cowboys defense. As such should he would be hard to let go, but it might be what’s best for the organization long-term.

Trading D-Law more than likely isn’t going to have much of an impact on the Cowboys defense one way or another, at least not right away. The long-term impact could be much different though. With the saved money and added draft capital they’d receive via trade, they could reinvest it into the defense instead of into just one talented player.

Potential trade partners: Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Las Vegas Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs

Do you think Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, or DeMarcus Lawrence gets traded?

What do you think?

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Brian Martin

Written by Brian Martin

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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    • I doubt anybody will trade for Dak while he is on IR. He becomes a free agent once again after the season unless the Cowboys extend his contract or use the franchise tag to keep him around.

  1. These stories should come with salary cap ramifications, if a player is traded. In an ideal world, you can just get rid of an underperforming player. If Cowboys lose next game, I would sit these high-priced veterans down. Let Anae, Bernard, Diggs, Gallimore, Armstrong and other young guys get more experience.

    • There’s going to be quite a bit of dead money trading away any one of these three players, but the Cowboys would also be saving more as well. If you want a better idea of salary-cap ramifications overthecap.com is a good resource to use.

  2. Trade D Law, people have bad seasons, jared goff had a bad season, he turned it around, I don’t see D law turning it around so trade him for a second and like fourth roun pick.
    Zek is having a shitty year like most stars do every once and a while. If he is bad next year, trade him. Keep cooper he has been as productive as anyone on the Cowboys.

  3. I’m a little confused by this article Brian. Don’t we have to eat alot of dead money and by alot I mean ALOT if these players are traded? The team is still on the hook for that money even if traded. Am I missing something?

    Per Spotrac NFL the dead cap money hit we would take prevents us from trading any of those players u mentioned for at least a couple of yrs though I believe Cooper can be done after next season.

    • Gary B, you’re not wrong… The Dallas Cowboys would be eating quite a bit of dead money trading away any one of these three players. It’s hard to justify making such a move, but considering how desperate they could be for more salary-cap space it becomes a little more justifiable. I think this all hinges on what they decide to do with Dak Prescott. If they sign him long-term or tag him again they will have very little to spend on free agents. That means draft capital becomes much more important. I know it’s a little odd to think this way, but it could be what’s in the best interest for the organization long-term.

  4. I believe u subtract the base salary from the dead money..but unless I’m reading it wrong it’s still not doable without incurring a huge hit.

  5. I think that it would be wise for the Cowboys to move at least 1 of these players if possible. I would rank them in this order, Lawrence, Elliott, Cooper. Cooper might can bring more back but he’s the only one that is trying his hardest out the 3. Lawrence nickname is Tank, and that’s exactly what he has done! Trade his ass for a 3rd rd pick

  6. Gary b…. We wouldn’t be eating any of the dead money if we can find a team to trade for them and take on their contracts too!! It’ll be a little hard to do with a player like Zeke cause nobody likes to pay that much for RBs, but it can be done with receivers and edge rushers!! But in my opinion I wouldn’t even consider trading Amari Cooper, he is some what of a luxury, but having 3 number one receivers makes our offense much more dangerous, and after watching the last game VS Washington, we are gonna need him!! He was the only receiver to catch a pass in that game!! So if I was to pick 3 players to trade it would be Zeke, D Law, Jaylon Smith!! And idk who that smart guy is in the 1st comment above, but I definitely wouldn’t trade Dak…. That would be the dumbest move to make!! Dak is the reason we’re not 0-7 right now and he’s the reason we weren’t blown out in every game this season!! In case you haven’t noticed by the last 2 games we had to play without him!! Both games without Dak, both games we were blown out in!! Now if he comes back and don’t play any good then maybe trade him, but that’s the only way I’d even consider trading him!!

  7. Not true cowboyfan! U need to Google how dead money works. We have to pay the dead money portion of it whether they are traded or cut. The only money u save is on the base salary for that yr but for those players mentioned the hit is still huge.

    Go to spotrac.com NFL it breaks all that down for you for each player.

  8. Brian maybe u can go into more of the specifics regarding dead money ramifications as it relates to our big contract players. Obviously this is very important to the decisions that will be made moving forward.

  9. If you could find anyone fool enough to take Elliott, then do the trade before they sober up.
    Cooper would be difficult to trade due to his injuries and high cost but he is really a one and a half year rental as his contract is cancellable after 2021.
    Lawrence has to be kept now or the defense would have no core to build around. Again, Lawrence is so overpaid, it requires a truly desperate GM to take him. Lawrence is a good player but paid as a great player and someone would have to seriously warp their cap to take him.

  10. I think we should defiantly trade D-law but even though Amari cooper is expensive I think we should still keep him. I think we should instead trade Gallup. and we should definitely not trade zeke. he is a top 3 running back and the only reason he isn’t doing good is because our whole o-line is hurt. I think we should trade tony pollard though because I bet we could get a good deal with him and Gallup.

  11. Gary b, it seems at least some teams don’t care about dead money anymore, mostly because the salary cap keeps increasing by $10-$11 million each season. Examples, Steelers traded A Brown even thou he counted $21+ million in dead money in 2019. Giants traded Beckham, a $16 million DM hit. So I guess it is doable, but depends on a team’s viewpoint on certain players. FYI for those who may not know, dead money refers to salary cap money a team is spending on a player no longer with the team.

  12. Running back is a position you don’t overpay for. We did. The running back is only as good as your offensive line. You pay well for the qb. This is exactly what you get in the salary cap era when you want to pay a handful of guys all the money. You are then stuck with below average everywhere else. A great qb with above average O-Line and a pretty good dline with a few playmakers sprinkled in is the way to go. When 4 or 5 guys are making so much money and I’m busting my hump blocking for them making 1% of what they are making…. and have families to feed too…. wonder how it plays in the locker room.

  13. Yes on Cooper, neutral but leaning yes on Zeke, no on Lawrence. Lawrence is the best player on a our D line, which unfortunately is not saying that much. Cooper is, as you say, a bit of a luxury player. Our WR position seems to be our best performing unit, with pretty good depth. Thought Zeke lost some burst last year, no longer a breakaway threat at all. and now not even finishing well. Looked good against Rams, but then a disappointment, especially with his killer fumbles. I understand the injuries on the O line must have an effect on his running, but at least finish your runs.

    • I doubt the Cowboys would get much in a trade for him. Plus they don’t have the depth at the LB position right now to probably make such a move.

  14. dump Zeke asap !!! what an overrated RB. All 3 are good trades. Take all offers just to dump the contracts for the off-season, but most of all, Zeke since he just isn’t more than hype now that the avg OL shows he isn’t better than any other RB in the league drafted in the 3rd or later.

  15. Agree with all u said Jimmy Jones except maybe a good OL vs an avg one. but it takes a good GM to make all that fit and put that team together. Too bad we don’t have one.

    Vam- I get where ur coming from but the cap will be compromised next yr as it is. Seems like a waste of valuable cap to do that…but sometimes it can’t be helped. We were in cap hell for a while due to Romo premature retirement and the subsequent dead money that went with it. Same with T Fredrick.

  16. Theres smart and contending organizations that’ll take a flier on a guy for a low pick. Right now Zeke could go to the 49ers given all their losses on RBs, Patriots are also a smart buy low team. I can see Lawrence getting traded to a team who might like a rotational pass rushers whos contending. Teams like the Bucs, Bills and Steelers are teams who could use him. As for Cooper, i would trade either him or Gallup to a WR needy team like NE aswell. I believe Cooper could fetch more since hes the better overall player and hes on a 5 yr deal.

  17. for you dopes who say trade Dak or let him walk you are clueless and show how little you know about football when it comes to QB. Where are you going to get someone better? At worst hes a top 10 quarterback and the reason we arent 0-7. I listened to some of you idiots saying you were glad when Dak went down because our backup was so much better, yeah how has that worked out. They are going to franchise Dak again to make sure hes healed and then will sign him long term. I will take any of you clueless idiots money to bet it happens

  18. for me, it all hinges on where we pick in next year’s draft. we need picks. we need free agent money. i’m a Prescott fan, but if we can get Lawrence or Fields, I say do it. tag and trade Prescott for picks,(we have 9 overall picks right now) and free up about $35 mil or so per year to sign free agents. if not, trade down, draft defense. (Surtain, Parsons, the corner from VaTech, and more) since we wont have much free agent money

  19. High profile trades rarely happen for a reason., they are very complicated and require alot of things to fall into place. To trade Dak would require a team that wants Dak, a team that Dak want’s to play for, a team that has the cap space to accommodate him and a team that has the draft capital to offer us. It could be done but it’s not as simple as it sounds.

    We won’t get the #1 pick so Lawrence is out. We would have to be top five to have a chance at Fields. Those are likely the only two QBs that are franchise types. I don’t wanna lose Dak but the smart move is to explore all options.

  20. I can see getting rid of Lawrence. Cooper you need that threat. It’s not Zeke that’s the problem. It’s the offensive line. You can’t run the ball when there’s no movement on the line

  21. Houston Texans would love all three of these players. Now if Amari Cooper goes there get another Quality WR in the draft. Yes Dee Dee Lamb would become our number 1 receiver if Amari leave. Michael Gallup is our deep threat but can’t replace CeeDee Lamb at slot Receiver. Not sure i want to trust anyone already on the team to be that guy. Ezekiel Elliott isn’t hardly going anywhere but i guess we have to wait in see how that goes. Demarcus Lawrence hasn’t done the pass two season so i wouldn’t hate us trading him as long as we get a worthy draft pick for him. We need to worry more about how we gonna replace our free agents that coming this off-season plus who are gonna upgrade our defense all together. Lord we need help all over this defense. I do hope Trevon Riggs and Reggie Robertson become the players we hoped for when we drafted them this pass off-season. Better get a great Safety in this coming draft. Another early draft pick at CB is a big need. I am pretty they want trade all the guys that people are talking about. But they got to shape up this roster, that is a must!

  22. cowboys should trade Demarcus , Vander Esch or maybe but I doubt it Zek. Vander esch and Zek is kinda a long shot though. Demarcus may fetch a second rd draft or third round. Vander esch could be a 2nd and third and Zek should be a first and maybe second or third.

  23. While I agree in concept, would be good to see what the reality of all that would be considering the cap. If it’s just dead money this year. . . GO FOR IT. We need 15-20 players next year to step in and step up.

  24. Trading Zeke makes tons of sense. Pollard is a better fit with McCarthy and we could probably get a 1 for Zeke and have money for Dak and Gallup. The cap hit is no concern. It would be 4 million or so I’m dead money this year and then a big hit next year in dead money – but we’d still save about 6 million overall and we’d be out from his contract.

  25. I hope it’s zek . Wasn’t worth the money and they should have got Henry in the first place. Zero trouble and always see him working out to get better in off season not in Cabo . Amari had a few drops but worth it . He needs a quarterback. Not Dak not dalton not anyone on that web roster. With that offensive power should hardly get beat regardless of sorry defense. Why can’t they get defensive line who can cave the line in and get to quarterbacks . That’s been a problem for many years

  26. I think Cooper is the one they should trade of the 3 , trading him would result in 8 million dollars in dead cap money , but his yearly salary would be 20 million , so your still clearing 12 million in cap space for next yr. plus I think you could get a mid 1st rd. pick in next yrs. draft for him too . The cowboys don’t need Cooper , Lamb will be a top 5 wideout before it’s all said and done and Gallup is more than capable of being the NO. 2 Wr on the team , plus Cedrick Wilson looks good , if you can get that kind of draft pick for Cooper and free up cap space in the process then go for it.

  27. Ultimately the decision to trade any of these 3 players comes down to if Jerry Jones has it in him to say ” You know what ? I was wrong about these guys . We just need to cut bait and get what we can from them in trades ” But knowing how stubborn Jerry is , that probably won’t happen .

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