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Could The Cowboys Work A Trade For Disgruntled DT Aaron Donald?

Brian Martin

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Could Cowboys Work A Trade For Disgruntled DT Aaron Donald?

I'm a person who likes to think outside of the box. A lot of times it comes to nothing, but it was that kind of thought process that got me thinking about whether or not the Dallas Cowboys could work out a trade with the Los Angeles Rams for their disgruntled defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

As things stand right now, Aaron Donald and the LA Rams are at a stalemate in their contracts talks and it's starting to look as if the All-Pro DT could carry his holdout into the season. It's probably not what either party wants to happen, but Donald is using the only leverage he has right now to try to get a contract extension.

This entire situation may be even more concerning to the Rams organization because Aaron Donald is arguably the best player they currently have on the roster. But, they don't really know yet how he fits into Wade Phillips new 3-4 defensive scheme since he has missed the entire off-season so far.

You see, Aaron Donald is really better suited to play in a 4-3 defensive scheme as an under tackle or 3-technique, where he can use his speed and agility to his advantage. He is a little undersized (6'1", 280) to be in every down defensive tackle in Phillips' defensive scheme, but it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the crafty defensive coordinator has a special way in mind to utilize Donald's unique skill set. But, that still remains unknown.

DT Aaron Donald

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

So, with Aaron Donald being unhappy with his current contract situation and not really knowing how he fits into the new 3-4 defensive scheme the Rams have gone to this season, could this workout to the Cowboys advantage?

The Dallas Cowboys are in desperate need to upgrade their pass rush this season. All of Cowboys Nation knows what their holdovers are capable of, but there is some unknown about the young talent they have. Regardless, Aaron Donald would be a tremendous addition and would instantly upgrade the entire defensive line.

Can you imagine having Aaron Donald and Maliek Collins playing next to each other and the havoc they would inflict to the middle of opposing offensive lines? It would be absolutely insane and would make it extremely difficult for QBs to get comfortable on the pocket. And it would also create more favorable matchups for whichever defensive ends are on the field at the time.

Now that I have the majority of you drooling or on Cloud 9 thinking about the pairing of Donald and Collins on the same defensive line, let's come back down to earth to look at how realistic this possible acquisition would be. Brace yourselves, because it's not pretty, but it is possibly doable.

DT Aaron Donald

DT Aaron Donald

Aaron Donald is wanting to be paid like one of the best DTs in the NFL. That would mean he could be looking at a contract similar to Ndamukong Suh, who signed a six-year, $114 million contract with $60 million guaranteed with the Miami Dolphins back in 2015. Unfortunately for Donald, that's an insane amount guaranteed of money for a DT and it's just silly to think any team can or will offer that kind of contract.

Realistically, Aaron Donald is probably looking at a contract that would pay him at least $20 million a year and somewhere in the ballpark of $45-$50 million guaranteed. That's a big chunk of change for an undersized DT, but that's likely the going rate for someone who is as disruptive and young as Donald.

Okay, this is where reality sets in. The Dallas Cowboys can't afford that kind of contract right now if they plan on re-signing there All-Pro offensive guard Zack Martin. That would indicate that Aaron Donald is currently out of contention to even be considered as a trade candidate. But, it is possibly doable to sign both Martin and trade/sign Aaron Donald to a contract extension.

There's no doubt it would take some creative finagling for all of this to happen, but like I said I'm an outside the box thinker.

DT Aaron Donald

Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

First, the Cowboys would have to workout a trade with the Rams and that would likely require at least a couple first-round draft picks. Then, they would have to create some cap relief this season to fit Donald under the salary cap. Finally, they would have to convince Donald that they will take care of him next off-season. They could do this by dumping some bad contracts (Tyrone Crawford and Cedric Thornton) and moving around money.

That's just a brief example of all the things that would have to be done in order to trade and extend Aaron Donald's contract to make him a Dallas Cowboy. There is much more involved, but it gives you an idea. It's highly unlikely and probably impossible this will ever happen, but it's definitely fun to think about.

Aaron Donald is an outstanding player and one of the best in the NFL at disrupting and sacking the QB. In just three short seasons in the NFL, he has amazingly amassed 28 QB sacks. That's an average of about nine a season as an interior defensive lineman. There are simply no words how impressive that is and how much it would improve the Cowboys defense.

Of course, this is probably just a dream and will likely never become reality. But, if Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys think it could be pulled off, I would absolutely be on board with everything it would take to put a star on Donald's helmet.

Should the Cowboys consider trading for Aaron Donald?


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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16 Comments
  • Anthony Ceniccola

    the price is steep but i believe i’d be on board for this. losing first round picks are ok for two reasons, you’re getting a first round pick-caliber player and in optimistic speculation the cowboys will be picking in the lower portion of the first round for the next few years anyway.

    • Brian Martin

      The Cowboys would definitely be giving up a lot, which is why this is probably unlikely to ever happen. But, like you said they will more than likely be drafted towards the end of each round and most of those players are usually second round graded fringe players anyway. Much like Taco Charlton was this year.

  • Kevin Black

    Maliek Collins is looking like a stud himself at the 3-tech. If you get Donald, you just stopped Collins’ progress and went from a cheap younger player to an expensive player in his prime. Since the Boys still have to get Martin signed, I highly doubt this is doable for cap reasons only. The difference between Collins and Donald aren’t enough for the huge difference in pay it will cost.

    • Brian Martin

      You can play Collins at the 1-Tech and Donald at the 3-Tech.

  • Travis Diggs

    Somebody sounds excited about Madden coming out this week lol This would only happen on a video game

    • Brian Martin

      I don’t even play Madden ha ha. It’s nearly impossible to probably pull off this trade scenario, but it is doable. The Cowboys are probably going to be picking at the end of the first round for the next few seasons and the players you can get there are usually second round graded fringe players anyway. Much like Taco Charlton this year. I don’t ever see it happening, but the addition of Aaron Donald would vastly improve the defense.

  • Randy Martin

    Brian, Brian….I’m so disappointed. Had I not read the byline I would have thought Carl Daley wrote this. Go watch the eclipse.

    • Brian Martin

      It was just a hypothetical trade scenario. Obviously it was more for fun than seriousness. It is possible such a trade could go down, although it is extremely unlikely it will ever happen or even be discussed.

  • tom

    Collins better value and less headache than Donald. even if hypo, I’d say pass.

    • Brian Martin

      That’s true, but Collins could slide over to the 1-tech and be just as dominant. Especially if Aaron Donald was playing next to him.

  • TreFKennedy88

    It’d be worth it plus Donald coming to Dallas with no state income tax

    • Brian Martin

      It’s an enticing trade scenario for all parties involved, but unfortunately it’s probably just a dream.

  • Russ_Te

    Definitely would not bail the Rams out with any #1 picks – not even 1. Make them take a hit for not being able to re-sign Donald, maybe after he’s proving to them he will boycott the year.

    And I can’t blow up my cap for a DT either. You could argue it’s worth it if that player is the missing link for a title, but IMO there is just too much unknown yet on this defense to conclude that.

    This defense benefits from a crushing run game that keeps it off the field. It’s not unreasonable to expect it to do the rest – don’t get gashed for big yards and big points.
    It should have enough talent right now to accomplish that, similar to last year.

    But early this season that will probably be a struggle. The secondary is untested and in flux, and it has a less-than-withering pass rush to help it. You have to get past 4 weeks, get Irving back and see how Taco and Collins are looking.

    Early on, I’m bringing the safeties and slot corners more in blitz on long downs. It’s risky but I’m not letting a good QB stand there unmolested, while I try to break in my rookies in the secondary.

  • Jess Haynie

    While deals like this almost never happen in the NFL, this is a rare time that it’s not a total fantasy. The Rams switching schemes puts them in a bad spot with Donald; his value will never be higher than it is right now. He’s already seen as elite, so there’s nowhere to go but down if he struggles at all with playing in the 3-4.

    That could prompt the Rams to act now to get the most for him. The Cowboys picks aren’t going to be the most valuable given what we’re projected to do the next few years, but it really depends on how much the Rams are concerned about Donald’s transition and general displeasure with the franchise.

    And if the Cowboys can use Tyrone Crawford, who’s ideal position is as a 3-4 end, to sweeten the pot then that’d be just fine and dandy.

  • Jerry Norman

    That would be nice, unlikely

    • Brian Martin

      I agree it would be highly unlikely to ever happen. But, the longer he continues to hold out, the more the Rams might be willing to move on. The Cowboys were rumored to be set on drafting Aaron Donald in 2014 and I believe they would be really interested if he hits the trade market.

Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: DeMarcus Lawrence, ¿Etiqueta o Contrato?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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DeMarcus Lawrence, Broncos

El pasado martes 20 de febrero, comenzó a lo que se le puede llamar una especie de "prólogo" a la agencia libre. Esa fecha marcó el primer día para que los equipos de la NFL designen jugadores franquicia o de transición. Alrededor de la liga, muchos nombres como el de Le'Veon Bell resaltan en esta conversación.

Y uno de los más grandes y conocidos, es el del defensive end de los Dallas Cowboys: DeMarcus Lawrence.

Hace unos días, se reportó que los Cowboys le darían la etiqueta franquicia a D-Law, algo que todos veíamos venir desde hace rato. Sin embargo, aún no se le otorga dicha etiqueta, sino que lo harán más cerca de la fecha límite para hacerlo, el 6 de Marzo.

En enero escribí un poco más a fondo sobre como funcionan las etiquetas franquicia en la NFL. 

Al inicio de su carrera, Lawrence fue un tanto decepcionante. No logró mantenerse sano, recibió una suspensión de cuatro juegos en el 2016 y antes de la última temporada, no había sido nada especial. Sin embargo, en el 2017 estuvo entre los mejores defensivos de la liga.

Lawrence logró capturar 14.5 veces a los quarterbacks contrarios (había conseguido sólo nueve en toda su carrera) y 35 tackles. No sólo mejoró increíblemente presionando el juego aéreo, sino que también se convirtió en una fuerza contra el juego terrestre.

Podemos hablar de estadísticas todo lo que queramos, pero creo que todos vimos lo que sucedió en el campo semana tras semana.

Un jugador que juegue de la manera que jugó DeMarcus este 2017, merece un gran, gran contrato. El problema es, que esta ha sido su única buena temporada. Y ahora la administración tiene que decidir que hacer respecto a este joven talento de sólo 25 años de edad.

¿Dejar que juegue en el 2018 bajo la etiqueta franquicia? ¿O darle un contrato a largo plazo, asegurando que use la Estrella por varios años?

Definitivamente no es una opción tan fácil como parece. Stephen y Jerry Jones han sido criticados por mucho los últimos años (bastantes veces erróneamente), y Lawrence es una oportunidad perfecta para lucirse... o quedar mal con su afición por muchos años.

Cowboys Planning

Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence

¿Qué si le dan una jugosa extensión de contrato y nunca volvemos a ver al mismo jugador que vimos dominar líneas ofensivas en el 2017? ¿Qué pasa si por alguna razón juega en otro equipo tras el 2018, y termina siendo uno de los mejores de la NFL?

Según reportes, Lawrence está pidiendo 17 millones por año, lo cuál lo pondría entre los mejores pagados de su posición actualmente. El DE de los Giants Olivier Vernon promedia esa cantidad, y sorpresa, sorpresa... ambos jugadores cuentan con el mismo agente.

Finalmente, por años hemos ansiado un caza cabezas para los Dallas Cowboys. Año tras año, hablamos de novatos como Joey Bosa o agentes libres como Dwight Freeney que podrían cambiar el rumbo de la defensiva de este equipo.

Pues ahora, los Cowboys cuentan con uno.

Sí, no se mantuvo sano durante los primeros tres años de su carrera, pero cuando lo estuvo demostró ser un jugador de mucha calidad. Quizá esta vez, si sea la ocasión para romper el cochinito y pagarle su merecido dinero a Lawrence.

Y con un poco de suerte, seguirá siendo el mismo que fue la temporada pasada y los Cowboys contarán con un excelente jugador en su línea defensiva.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: DeMarcus Lawrence, ¿Etiqueta o Contrato?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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Star Blog

Will Jeff Heath be a Starter or Backup in 2018?

Brian Martin

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Takeaway Tuesday: Cowboys' Defense Silently Shined, Jeff Heath Saved The Season 1
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

There seems to be quite a bit of optimism surrounding the Dallas Cowboys secondary after the hiring of Kris Richard. A lot of Cowboys Nation is hoping that he can re-create the "Legion of Boom" here in Dallas, but do the Cowboys have the personnel to do it?

There's no denying the Cowboys have some very talented young defensive backs. Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Xavier Woods all had fantastic rookie seasons and they have only started to scratch the surface of their true potential. We could even throw Anthony Brown into that conversation as well, even though he struggled at times in 2017.

Kris Richard definitely has something to work with, at least at cornerback. But, the safety position for the Cowboys could probably use an upgrade.

I wouldn't be all that surprised if we see completely new faces starting at safety for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018. There have already been rumors Byron Jones might be moving back to cornerback. That would leave Jeff Heath as the only Cowboy safety with any kind of starting experience.

Unfortunately, Jeff Heath has been the favorite whipping boy for a lot of Cowboys fans. When there was blame to be placed in the secondary, it usually fell on Heath's shoulders whether it was warranted or not.

Jeff Heath

Dallas Cowboys S Jeff Heath

Kris Richard will probably have a pretty big input on who the Cowboy starting safeties will be next season. You can bet he has already evaluated every single one of his secondary players and already has a pretty good idea of how he wants to deploy them.

Right now, the biggest enigma in the Cowboy secondary has to be the safety position and more importantly what to do with Jeff Heath. Will he be a starter or backup in 2018?

Heath actually performed pretty well in 2017. He finished the season with 71 tackles, two forced fumbles, and three interceptions. That compares pretty favorably with the safety everybody wants to bring to Dallas, Earl Thomas, who finished last season with 88 tackles, one forced fumble, and two interceptions. But, we all know statistics don't show the big picture.

We all know Earl Thomas is the more talented of the two players, but that's not to say Jeff Heath isn't worthy of his starting job. I know some of you will disagree, but I believe he proved that last season.

What happens to Jeff Heath in 2018 will likely depend on what the Dallas Cowboys are able to do in free agency and through the draft. Adding another safety at some point is definitely an offseason priority, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will be an upgrade over Heath.

As things stand right now, Jeff Heath is still penciled in as one of the starting safeties heading into the 2018 season. The other starting safety spot is up for grabs. Who knows, maybe we'll see completely new faces at the safety position, much like we did at CB last year.

Do you think Jeff Heath remains the starting safety?


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Star Blog

Should Cowboys Sign This RFA to a Contract Sheet?

Brian Martin

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Should Cowboys Sign This RFA to a Contract Sheet?

Fortune favors the bold. It's a rough translation of an old Latin proverb and the mantra I believe the Dallas Cowboys should indoctrinate this offseason.

I think it's time the Dallas Cowboys start to make a few bold moves. I truly believe they are close to competing for a championship title and one or two offseason moves could increase those odds. One such move would be to sign restricted free agent (RFA) Shaquil Barrett to an offer sheet.

It's expected that the Denver Broncos will place a second-round tender on Barrett and I think the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to explore the possibility of signing him to a contract sheet. If Denver declines to match the offer, the Cowboys would then send them their second round draft pick as compensation.

You on board?

Probably not at this point, but let me try to explain why I believe this is a good move on the Cowboys part, even if it is an uncharacteristic one.

You see, the Cowboys could definitely use someone to play opposite DeMarcus Lawrence and I think Shaquil Barrett could be the solution.

I know it sounds like a lot to give up a second round draft pick, but the Cowboys have been deplorable at drafting players in the second round the past decade. Sean Lee, DeMarcus Lawrence, and possibly Jaylon Smith have really been the only "hits" the Cowboys have found in the second round. That's simply unacceptable!

So, why not use that second rounder to acquire a player who is already a proven commodity in the NFL?

Shaquil Barrett

Denver Broncos OLB Shaq Barrett (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

I know the first thing a lot of you are going to do is to look up Shaquil Barrett's stats to see what he has accomplished in the NFL. But, stats don't always show the big picture.

You see, Barrett has been stuck behind some pretty talented pass rushers in Denver, so his statistics aren't going to jump off the paper. But, when given the opportunity he has proven he deserves a larger role. That's where the Dallas Cowboys come in.

The Broncos probably don't have the money to keep Shaquil Barrett if the Cowboys sign him to a contract sheet. It doesn't necessarily even have to be a big money contract offer. The Broncos simply don't have the salary cap to do much, especially considering they are still looking for a starting quarterback.

I honestly like the idea of the Cowboys going after Barrett. You may have forgotten, but he gave a healthy Tyron Smith fits last season.

With an injured Shane Ray, Shaquil Barrett got the start against the Cowboys in 2017 and finished the game with two quarterback hits, six QB pressures, and five stops. No other player found that kind of success against Tyron Smith all season, even when he was banged up.

Unfortunately, when Shane Ray returned, Barrett's usage on defense declined. That's why you can't always judge a players productivity by statistics. You have to judge him more on a per-snap basis, and if you do that you will discover he was very effective as both a pass rusher and run stopper.

I believe Barrett is ready for a full-time role. Yes, he has been used as a standup 3-4 OLB with the Broncos, but he has the required traits to put his hand on the ground and maintain his effectiveness.

The downside to all of this is the Dallas Cowboys would have to give up their second-round draft pick, but draft picks are sometimes overvalued anyways. Shaquil Barrett is probably better than anybody the Cowboys could draft in the second round, so I say pull the trigger.

Should the Cowboys sign Shaquil Barrett to a contract sheet?


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