After yesterday's big trade that sent Michael Bennett from Seattle to Philadelphia, Dallas fans were up in arms about the lack of movement so far from the Cowboys front office. After a disappointing 9-7 season and narrowly missing the playoffs, it's no surprise that Cowboys Nation is anxious to see the team have an aggressive offseason.
Names like Dez Bryant and Orlando Scandrick have been floated as potential trades Dallas could make for draft picks, but are these realistic? Do the Cowboys really have any assets that other teams might want?
Remember, along with the player comes his contract. We mostly agree that Dez isn't worth his $16.5-million cap hit with the Cowboys. But is Bryant worth a $12.5-million base salary to someone else? Even that is debatable after three down seasons. What's more, NFL teams generally aren't trying to trade players they wouldn't just end up releasing. Other teams know this and will usually wait it out.
Again, let's look at Dez.
If teams believe that Dallas will eventually release him, they can then negotiate a new deal with Bryant that better fits his market value. So, not only do they get a better financial arrangement, but they didn't have to trade anything to the Cowboys to get him.
This is why the NFL isn't like the NBA with trades. It's rarer because the circumstances of NFL contracts are more limiting.
You have to have a team in fire sale mode -- like the Seahawks right now -- or something like what we just saw with Jimmy Garoppolo going to the 49ers. The player needs to be good enough, and often young enough, that the new team just can't risk letting them go somewhere else.
That's the problem with guys like Bryant and Scandrick. At this point, neither one is seen as a top guy at their position. Dez turns 30 in November and Orlando just turned 31 last month. Both guys are on the downsides of their career.
With only a $3-million base salary in 2018, Scandrick is probably more tradable than Dez despite being older. He could be a solid veteran slot corner for a competitive team. But again, other teams see what's going on in Dallas.
They see Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, and Anthony Brown on the roster. They hear about Byron Jones maybe moving back to corner. Someone who likes Scandrick expects him to be cut and is probably willing to try their luck in free agency.
Even if a team did want to secure Orlando now, the offer wouldn't get you excited. If Michael Bennett only got a 5th-round pick and a marginal young receiver from Philly, Scandrick isn't getting you anything better.
Is an extra 6th-round pick going to make you feel better about the Cowboys' Super Bowl hopes?
The truth is that the Dallas Cowboys just don't have much to work with right now. Like most teams, they're trying to build around their young talent and aren't putting them on the market. The guys they might trade away are being discarded for a reason, and it's the same reason other teams aren't in a rush to acquire them.
1 Guy Who Might be Tradable is David Irving
Some would argue, and I'm one, that Irving is too good to give up. Keeping him with DeMarcus Lawrence gives Dallas two of the more dynamic pass rushers in the NFL right now. The Cowboys need both to get back to championship contention. However, the reality is that Irving will likely command a sizable new contract after 2018. Paying him $3-4 million this year from a Restricted Free Agent tender is a bargain, but it's only a one-year move. The bill for David's services will quickly come due.
If the Cowboys can't see paying Irving next year, now would be a good time to go ahead and move him. He turns just 25 in August and can play several spots, making him attractive to just about any other team.
But again, trading Irving takes away a guy who can help you win this season. Whatever you get back, even a 2nd-round pick, probably doesn't help you as much now as he can.
Is one year of David Irving worth more than four years of an unknown rookie? Irving has flashed superstar potential and the guy you draft might not even make it in the league.
So yes, Irving is probably the most attractive guy on the roster right now that could most easily be moved. But the Cowboys will have to think long and hard about it, because upside like his doesn't come along every day.
Perhaps the Most Probable Trade Asset is Byron Jones
A former first-round pick still in his physical prime, Jones hasn't been the elite safety Dallas hoped for but is still a solid player. Another team might think they could utilize him better, either in how he's used at safety or by moving him to cornerback. Of course, the Cowboys may not want to lose Jones if they're already planning to cut Orlando Scandrick.
They may also like him better for next year's CB depth chart than Anthony Brown. You don't want to create a depth problem because you got trade happy.
But with his rookie deal expiring in 2018, and no sign the Cowboys will pick up his fifth-year option, Jones could be out the door next year with no compensation. That's a poor return on a first-round pick, so Dallas might want to try to find a trade partner just to get something back on their investment.
The Cowboys are in the tough spot of needing to make some big roster changes while also trying to stay competitive. They don't want to miss out on the window of time they have with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott still on their rookie deals. They need to make an aggressive push now, because soon they're going to have to tie up a lot more resources in their young stars.
Will that push involve trading some their current talent? Even if they want to move guys, are trade partners out there?
We'll find out pretty soon.
Taco Charlton Isn’t Going Anywhere After Strong Preseason Week 3
Dallas Cowboys Defensive End Taco Charlton might be turning things around. The former first round draft pick didn't have a great couple of seasons to start his career off, which forced him to be in a battle to earn a spot on the Cowboys 53-man roster this offseason. Three weeks into the preseason, it looks like he's a lock to make the team. In a "Dress Rehearsal" game that went great for the Cowboys, Charlton's performance was among the best players.
A couple of weeks ago, I discussed how the Cowboys' younger defensive ends could force the team to move on from Taco. From Dorance Armstrong to Jalen Jelks, there's a handful of promising players that were participating in a positional battle that one way or another, included Taco Charlton.
However, the Michigan product showed up to play versus the Los Angeles Rams with two passes batted down. Despite making such plays, we still hadn't seen much from him in the pass rush department.
That changed against the Houston Texans last Saturday when he managed to get two sacks (one strip-sack), two forced fumbles and a recovery. This was undoubtedly Taco's best game in his career. He still has a lot to prove, but it was definitely good to see him have a "breakout" preseason game.
With such performance, it doesn't seem like he'll be going anywhere in 2019. Charlton won't be a starter for this team, but he could become a very important rotational piece for Rod Marinelli's defense. He has a great opportunity to find playing time during the first two weeks of the season before Robert Quinn returns from suspension.
One unfortunate note was that in his best game yet, Taco went out injured twice (ankle). The first time he went back to the field to get some more but had to walk off the field for a second time. Hopefully, he's able to play next Thursday but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't after having a breakout game versus the Texans.
Taco Charlton still has a very long way to justify being a first-round pick, but his play against Houston was a start. It will be very interesting to see how he plays in the 2019 regular season. He'll have to fight for playing time and he'll have to make every snap count to turn his career around.
Cowboys’ Taryn Christion Gets Time at QB; More Coming?
Last night was the first time we've seen Taryn Christion, the Dallas Cowboys' fourth quarterback on the current depth chart, actually playing the position in preseason. Could we see more of Christion at QB in this Thursday's finale, and at what point should Mike White be worried?
Signed just a few days before training camp began, Christion has been tried at running back, receiver, and various special teams units while the Cowboys were in Oxnard. But last week he started getting more time at quarterback, and last night's win over the Houston Texans saw him playing a few drives at QB to close the game out.
Sure, Taryn came in fourth behind White in the rotation. But that Dallas thought to give him reps in that game, the critical dress rehearsal game, is telling.
Jason Garrett doesn't get cute with rotations and playing time. He's old school, and there's meaning in every decision he makes about when and how guys get time in preseason.
Ironically, the decision came following Mike White's best preseason game this year. He went 6-of-9 for 56 yards and a touchdown, plus avoided any sacks or turnovers.
Rather than let White keep building on that, though, Dallas pulled him for Taryn Christion in the 4th quarter. It seemed as if the Cowboys were determined to get him some time at QB.
An even better showcase will come this Thursday night. The Cowboys host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the final preseason game; we know Dak Prescott won't be playing, and the team may even protect Cooper Rush with limited time on the field.
Dallas likely intends to give Christion some significant playing time on Thursday. And to help make that easier, they played him last night to get some of those butterflies out of his system.
No, Taryn Christion probably isn't going to make the 53-man roster. Neither is Mike White, for that matter. It feels like the battle for the number-three QB is more about the practice squad now.
But whatever the case, the battle seems to be heating up. Dallas appears more invested in Christion now as a quarterback than at any other point since he arrived; some added intrigue for Thursday's final preseason game.
HOU 0, DAL 34: Defense Dominates in Dress Rehearsal Game
The Dallas Cowboys couldn't have scripted a better result in tonight's dress rehearsal game against the Houston Texans. All three phases of the game made big plays as they dominated 34 to 0.
The night belonged to the defense as they terrorized Houston's starters and reserves along the offensive line with 8 sacks. Taco Charlton, a former first-round pick turned outcast was the star of the night with 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. In my opinion, if there were any doubts about him making the roster he put them to bed tonight.
Kerry Hyder showed once again why he's one of the smartest free-agent signings of 2019. After being a lost man in the 3-4 defensive scheme with his former team the Lions, he's done a really good job applying pressure even though he hadn't recorded any sacks in the first two preseason games. However, tonight he recorded 2 sacks and reminded everyone of the player who had 8 sacks in 2016.
The young guys weren't to be left out in this defensive clinic. Dorance Armstrong, Trysten Hill, Daniel Wise, and Joe Jackson all had half sacks. Rookie Safety Donovan Wilson had one of the plays of the night with a beautiful interception as he tapped both feet before heading out of bounds. Cornerback C.J. Goodwin, who will probably make the roster on his special teams ability, got in on the interception party himself high pointing a contested pass.
Dak Prescott was only 2 for 5 (11 for 14 in the preseason) but managed to escape what looked like a sure sack and roll to his left and threw a rope to Michael Gallup for a touchdown. The two have shown a lot of growth and chemistry during training camp, something that was missing at times in 2018.
Wide Receiver Devin Smith had 6 receptions for 79 yards while Cedrick Wilson snagged 3 passes on 4 targets. Both receivers are fighting for the final roster spots in the receiver group which they'll have to continue to do next week against the Buccaneers.
Tight End Marcus Lucas had a very solid game with 4 catches for 50 yards. He will definitely be a player to watch in the final preseason game before final cuts are made. Cooper Rush went 15 for 25 and further solidified his position as the primary backup to Prescott. Mike White was also solid going 6 for 9 and tossing a touchdown.
Special teams got in on the action themselves when Linebacker Joe Thomas recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown.
Now the Cowboys have only one more preseason game before the 2019 season begins. All that's left now is figuring out the last few roster spots and staying as healthy as possible. September 8th is right around the corner.
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