The other day I got a wild hair and tweeted out the idea that Dallas could try and sign Von Miller. That's right; the reigning Super Bowl MVP and arguably the best defensive player in the NFL. Knowing that Miller was franchise tagged by the Denver Broncos, I included the price of signing him in my proposal.
Here's a crazy idea... Dallas sends #4 and next year's first to Denver for Von Miller. #CowboysNation
I get crazy ideas all the time and dismiss them quickly. This one, however, is still lingering. The more I think about it the less crazy I think it is.
Maybe I've still got stars in my eyes from the playoffs. Watching Miller dominate in the AFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl left a mark on me. No matter what sport you're watching, you want the guys who are at their best when the lights are brightest.
I also recognize that I'm probably being influenced by the news of DeMarcus Lawrence's four-game suspension. Having both Lawrence and Randy Gregory out to start next season is troubling, not just for those four games but for what they could face with another offense. If the drug is marijuana then the next offense is a 10-game suspension and it's a whole year for other drugs.
So yes, I may be flirting with panic mode a little in this idea. Still, I can't help but see the merit.
I know we're talking about an enormous cost. Not only are you giving up the draft picks but you'd then have to sign Miller to a huge contract. However, looking at each of those factors separately makes them seem less daunting.
The word out of Denver is that Miller wants to be the highest paid defensive player in the NFL; topping the $19 million annual salary that Ndamukong Suh is enjoying in Miami. It's not unreasonable given the season that Miller just had. In fact, I would argue that Miller's stock right now is even higher than Suh's was when he entered free agency.
As I recently discussed on our site, Dallas has a tight salary cap right now but has several options for clearing space. They can make room for a top-priced guy like Miller and can also find ways to structure the deal that keeps the cap hit low early only by front-loading the signing bonus.
They absolutely CAN make it work financially. The real question is whether or not the Cowboys' front office would make such a dramatic shift from the way they've been managing contracts lately.
Dallas hasn't spent big money on an external free agent in four years, the last being Brandon Carr in 2012. They've even been more judicious with their own guys, such as when they released DeMarcus Ware and declined to re-sign DeMarco Murray. However, as we've seen with the contracts of Tyron Smith and Dez Bryant, Dallas is still okay with paying top dollar to guys who have their full confidence.
The Draft Picks
I'm sure some would argue that giving up two first-round picks for any player is a bad idea. Others would say that they'd only do it for a quarterback. I don't fault anyone who has either of these opinions.
That said, let's really look at what you're giving up. Assuming they don't trade down, the Cowboys fourth-overall pick on Thursday night will likely bring them defensive back Jalen Ramsey or running back Ezekiel Elliott. What if Von Miller was in this class? Would he be the top guy on Dallas' board?
Remember, Miller was the second pick in the 2011 draft. He was selected in one of the best top fives you'll ever hear; after Cam Newton and ahead of Marcel Dareus, A.J. Green, and Patrick Peterson. He was the best pass rusher then and would easily be the best one in the 2016 class.
Now, I know that getting Miller at age 27 isn't the same as age 22. But there is a trade off; you're getting a sure thing. You're acquiring a proven franchise player while he's still in his prime as opposed to a guy who you can only hope will work out as well. For a team that's trying to win during the limited window of Tony Romo's remaining years, that's a pretty big consideration.
As for the 2017 first-round pick, there are a few ways to look at that. If Dallas gets back to playoff contention with Romo's return then that pick should be somewhere in the mid-20s. They had the 27th pick in 2015 after going 12-4 and winning the division. It's certainly still a valuable pick but, ideally, won't be nearly the same as giving up something at the top of the draft.
Also, let's be honest about draft picks; there's not much more than a 50-50 chance that they work out. Again, we're talking a proven commodity in Von Miller as opposed to two rookies. Let's say you keep those picks and one kid completely busts (e.g. Mike Jenkins) and the other is a solid but ultimately disappointing pick (e.g. Terence Newman, Greg Ellis). You can't ignore that potential when looking at the value of picks compared to an established veteran.
~ ~ ~
Again, I'm not saying this is the right way to go or even a great idea. It's fraught with risk and goes against the more conservative roster management strategy that we've seen from Dallas in recent years. I ultimately applaud that approach and am excited for the team's future based on it.
Of course, Dallas could make the leap to try and sign Miller and Denver would just match the deal. We have to mention that possibility, although I think the Broncos would be very enticed to take the picks given where they are in contract negotiations and with their roster overall. Their ugly quarterback situation may have them thinking more about the long-term then trying to win back-to-back championships.
On paper, Dallas is the team that needs a guy like Von Miller far more than Denver. They're the team with a solid infrastructure trying to get a title before their aging quarterback retires, much like the Broncos last year. If there was ever a time to go against the conservative strategy and make a bold move, it is now.
I know this likely would never happen and it just a fun hypothetical. But the draft and dreaming tend to go hand and hand, don't they?
Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber
A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.
The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber: https://t.co/TaC6cqjval
Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.
Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.
The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.
Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick
After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.
I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.
This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.
Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.
In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.
Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.
Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line
There are a lot of positions being talked about right now for the Dallas Cowboys. Upgrades are needed at several spots, but one critical position needs even more than that. Left guard is completely unmanned, and that could be a big problem for the 2018 offensive line if it's not addressed soon.
Last year's starter, Jonathan Cooper, is currently an unrestricted free agent. So are backups Joe Looney and Byron Bell.
Right now, Chaz Green is the only other non-starter under contract who has any NFL experience at left guard. Nobody wants to see him on the field next year.
Dez Bryant may be a big topic but at least he's under contract. The same goes for safety, where we at least have options to turn to if free agency or the draft don't yield anything.
Left guard, though? The cupboard is bare.
One option could be to move La'el Collins back to guard, where many feel he has the most upside, and then find a new right tackle. But that would be changing two positions to fill one hole, and Collins was playing well at tackle by the end of the year.
And obviously, we don't want to see Chaz Green playing that spot either. Or any spot. Ever.
No, at this point it makes sense for Dallas to leave Collins where he is and either sign or draft a starting LG. The question is how much do they want to invest?
The Cowboys are already shelling out big bucks to Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. Even Collins counts about $7 million against the cap. They have three first-round picks already tied up in the offensive line.
Some thought veteran free agent Josh Sitton would be a nice option, but he got picked up by the Dolphins today for about $8-9 million per year. That's more than Dallas can afford given their limited cap space and other needs.
No, the LG in 2018 is going to need to be a salary cap bargain. That means either re-signing Jonathan Cooper or Joe Looney on the cheap, or perhaps paying a rookie salary to a high draft pick.
Last year's 19th overall pick, O.J. Howard, counted just $2 million against the Bucs' salary cap in 2017.
There are some older veterans who could be cheap band-aid options, such as Matt Slauson or Evan Smith. But you don't get very far down some lists of available guards before you see Jonathan Cooper's name, and continuity is always a plus.
The point here is don't expect any big move, even with the enormity of the need. Dallas will likely reach an agreement with Cooper after he's tested the free agent waters a bit, assuming nobody else scoops him up.
If not, the need at left guard will become increasingly dire the further we get into the offseason.
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