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Do the Dallas Cowboys Have Any Trade Assets?

Jess Haynie

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Dez Bryant

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.

Orlando Scandrick

Dallas Cowboys CB Orlando Scandrick

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.

David Irving

Dallas Cowboys DL David Irving

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.

Byron Jones 1

Dallas Cowboys DB Byron Jones (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

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.



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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18 Comments
  • Alex

    How about giving Irving the 2nd round tender hoping someone will try to sign him and Dallas receiving that 2nd round pick this year and trading it to Seattle for earl Thomas. How does that sound. I’m a fan of Irving but he might be too much of a head case and also he’s too inconsistent to throw tons of money when it’s due. Get something for him now while he has value

    • Travis LaFaitte

      straight up byron jones for earl thomas… Go cowboys

      • Will

        Why would Seattle do that? This isn’t Madden…

        • Travis LaFaitte

          E.T. would solve the safety issue for Dallas. Byron would be a solid replacement for Sherman in their system. Byron is young and has at least 5 years of playing left. E.T. Probably has 2-3 good years left. I don’t think it will happen but it could benefit both.

          • Will

            “Solid replacement?” A guy who’s basically a failed FS coming off a down year with one year of control before you have to pay him for a Pro Bowl FS? Come on, man. This is why Cowboys fans get trashed as unrealistic

      • EverybodyTalks

        No…

    • Will

      Hawks aren’t dumping Thomas. Let’s just shut that fantasy down now

      • EverybodyTalks

        Earl just playing his hand well. Drive interest with the “Come get me!”. He saw Seattle Defense sliding. Time to get his name out just enough to make Seattle sweat and resign.
        Well done.

        • Will

          Totally agree. He was never going to Dallas. As a Cowboys fan, I’m really tired of my fellow Cowboys fans making us all look dumb by continuing to over value our guys and suggest these Madden fan-boy trades

  • Travis Diggs

    “This is why the NFL isn’t like the NBA with trades. It’s rarer because the circumstances of NFL contracts are more limiting.” There were almost the same amount of trades in the NFL compared to the NBA. I love that quote tho, its the only thing that sounds good when explaining why the cowboys don’t make trades. Everybody else makes it works but us. The Eagles have NEGATIVE 10 million dollars in cap and they still find ways to make impact trades, Can someone please explain this to me??

    • DevilDog58

      That’s what I would like to know too!!!

    • EverybodyTalks

      I’m sure the Smeagles have to get under the cap and will do that by the 14th, but then you see articles where everyone is saying that there is no way, because of the cap, that the Cowboys can sign Hitchens, which would bolster our LB corp…smh.

  • Russ_Te

    If Irving keeps building his game, he could be worth FA-level or Franchise-tag $ for Dallas next year. No way I trade that away now when I have a formidable left side of the DL finally. If Linehan wakes up, the Cowboys retool WR well and this offense rolls again in 2018, then DL could be what makes the difference in the playoffs.

    Not every team has a talent like Beasley in the slot, and I would definitely shop him and test his value. Lots of churn is probably ahead for the WR unit. Get me a speed WR to rebuild it around.

    • DevilDog58

      Plus I think Switzer is a faster version of Beasley and I can’t wait to see them both on the field this year. IF Linehan can figure it out that is.

  • EverybodyTalks

    Byron Jones needs to do what he did in college – CB. Irving needs to put in a full year. I like the 2nd round tender. If they know about Dez and Orlando, then they know the issues and the situation with Irving. I think the 2nd round tender allows the Cowboys to play long ball. If some team does hit on the tender, then the Cowboys can match for grab the 2nd round pick. the 3rd option is no one bites and we getIrving for 1.5 or 1.9 million. The Cowboys are in the driver’s seat on this one. Now, Dez and Scandrick,they have their own stories to unfold. As always, Dallas and Drama walk hand-in-hand.

  • John McClain

    Irving is better than DLo. The Cowboys Need to just sign him long-term

  • Tony Farthing

    Byron have been misused. He’s a keeper! Let him QB the DBs!

    Can’t overlook the massive $$$ our OL is costing us too.

    I say, churn that OL. Great trade value there! We might have better brand as an OL farm if nothing else. Capitalize!

    Keep drafting top OL talent. And keep that rotation going to avoid stunting progress of younger OL draftees.

    Smith is wearing down and will be considered grossly overpaid of he end up on trainer’s table in 2018.

    Why not plan for his/other OL replacements?

    won’t be able to keep them together beyond EzE & Dak’s rookie contracts.

    • Justin T Johnston

      I like your thinking. TS is going to create us big problems. He’s over paid based on injury. I hope we don’t hold on longer than we should because of Jerry and create a problem for years after he retires early die to injury

Game Notes

Monday Morning Hangover: Cowboys Dominate Jaguars Top-Ranked Defense

Brian Martin

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Monday Morning Hangover: Cowboys Dominate Jaguars Top-Ranked Defense 1

After watching the Houston Texans defeat the Dallas Cowboys in the Week 5, I decided to lower my expectations heading into this week's matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars. After all, the Cowboys offense has been one of the worst in the league this season and they were going up against the top-ranked Jaguars defense. Boy was I surprised at what took place Sunday afternoon.

I don't know how you started off your football Sunday, but I decided to watch the Texans take on the Buffalo Bills. I didn't have much of a choice since I live in the Houston area and it was the only game on TV, but I still wanted to see how they played after beating my Cowboys in overtime a week prior. I was disgusted at what I saw and unfortunately took it out on my cold beverage.

The Texans looked nothing like the team we saw against the Cowboys. They were pretty much dominated by the Buffalo Bills, which I'm ashamed to say put me in a rather foul mood ahead of kickoff time in Dallas. I was expecting another sloppy performance, but what we all witnessed was anything but that.

The Dallas Cowboys offense pretty much moved the ball at will against the Jacksonville Jaguars top-ranked defense. I don't think anyone could have predicted that, especially considering the Jaguars were the best overall defense in the league and where the top-ranked in the passing game as well. I thought if the Cowboys were going to have any kind of chance it was against their 14th ranked run defense.

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

Well, the Cowboys ended up dominating on the offensive side of the ball and completely exploited the Jaguars defense both on the ground and through the air. Quarterback Dak Prescott, Running Back Ezekiel Elliott, and Wide Receiver Cole Beasley all raised the level of their game and were big contributors to the 40 points the offense put on the board.

Prescott may have thrown for little less than 200 yards, but he was able to connect with Beasley nine times for 101 yards and two touchdowns. With all of the struggles in the passing game for the Cowboys, these two need to continue to connect like this.

Where Prescott was the most impactful against the Jaguars was with his feet. He was really close to being the Cowboys leading rusher with 82 yards and a TD on just 11 carries, but Zeke ended up surpassing him in the end with 106 yards and a TD on 24 carries. Regardless, the Jaguars defense didn't have an answer for Prescott's feet Sunday afternoon.

I have hope once again that this offense is clicking, but I've gone down this road once before. The Dallas Cowboys are still right in the mix of things in the NFC East division and will have a chance to distance themselves next week when they take on the Washington Redskins.

Now, here's the difficult part of all of this. The Cowboys now need to carry over this impressive offensive performance against the Jaguars into next week against the rival Redskins. We've all seen them riding on a high before this season, only to crash back down to earth the following week. They can't afford to do that with a division foe up next on the schedule.

What did you think about the Dallas Cowboys offense against the Jaguars?



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Game Notes

DAL 40, JAX 7: Cowboys Answer The Bell In Dominant Win

Kevin Brady

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DAL 40, JAX 7: Cowboys Answer The Bell In Dominant Win

It seems like a pattern is developing here during the 2018 Dallas Cowboys season.

For a team and an offense which has looked absolutely horrid on the road, the Cowboys appear to be one of the better teams in the conference when playing at home.

That trend continued today as the Cowboys dominated the now 3-3 Jacksonville Jaguars from start to finish, en route to a 40-7 home victory over last year's AFC semi-finalist.

Quarterback Dak Prescott had possibly his best game of the season, making up for his poor performance in Houston a week ago. While Prescott only threw for 183 yards on 17 completions, it was his 82 rushing yards on 11 carries which put this offense over the top. Plus, the Cowboys were in "kill the clock" mode for basically the entire second half.

The real story here was the offensive line, however. The o-line which has been heavily criticized by the fan base during the season, and has shouldered a heavy amount of the blame for the poor offensive production, finally stepped up and played to their standards this afternoon. Prescott had great pass protection all day, which was evident in his passing numbers and Cole Beasley's receiving performance.

Dallas is now 3-3 on the season, tied with the defending champ Eagles and a half game behind Washington for first place in the NFC East. Next week the Cowboys have a huge game in Washington with first place on the line.

Other Notes

  • Cole Beasley proved once again why he's worthy of the pay day he'll get (probably somewhere else) this offseason. Beasley caught 9 balls for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns, dominating man coverage all game long.
  • These linebackers are legit. Both Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith were all over the field today, anchoring a group which was impressive yet again.
  • Brett Maher simply can't miss, going 4 for 4 on field goal attempts including a 55 yarder in the second half.
  • Ezekiel Elliott went over 100 yards rushing again this week, and it was somehow still a quiet day for him in the grand scheme of things.
  • Byron Jones was the best cornerback on either team today, deflecting 3 passes and staying sticky to the Jacksonville wide outs all day. He's been incredible this season and Sunday's game was no different.
  • Oh, and Randy Gregory sack alert! Party!



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Player News

David Irving Ready to “Be Put Through Ringer” in First Action with Cowboys

Sean Martin

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David Irving Ready to "Be Put Through Ringer" in First Action with Cowboys
(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

The Dallas Cowboys patience in Defensive Tackle David Irving is set to pay off on Sunday, as Irving will play in his first game of 2018 after being suspended for the first four weeks. Irving was eligible to play last week in the Cowboys overtime loss at the Texans, but did not make the trip to Houston as he dealt with off-field concerns.

The Cowboys defense has performed admirably without Irving, but in a needed game against the Jaguars, it could be up to this defense to win the game for Dallas - something a disruptive player like Irving has the ability to do on any given snap.

While the plan is for the Cowboys to ease Irving into this game, his impact from the DT position might be enough to leave him on the field as much as needed in a tight game.

Kate Hairopoulos on Twitter

Irving said the coaches want to play him 10-15 snaps Sunday. "That's what they say now but if it's a close game, I know good and well Marinelli is going to be sending me out there & putting me through the ringer. I'm ready for it.

Like a good left-handed pitcher in baseball or three-point specialist in basketball, the Cowboys have afforded Irving a long leash despite his unreliability thanks to a 6'7" and 290 pound frame that makes him a menace for opposing guards.

The 3T-DT position is a pivotal one in Marinelli's scheme, and one the Cowboys have afforded Irving every opportunity to fill, yielding results whenever the former Chiefs practice squad steal suits up.

Filling in for Irving through the Cowboys first five games of the season has been reliable veteran Tyrone Crawford. Expected to play at defensive end this season, Crawford has recorded 14 tackles and one sack from the 3T position.

With Irving back in the "Hot Boyz" rotation, it will be interesting to see if Crawford once again goes out to right defensive end, where Randy Gregory has struggled to make the most out of his own return from suspension.

Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli is not expecting similar struggles from Irving, prepared to put him "through the ringer".

Where Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard calls the Cowboys defense, Marinelli is still one of the most respected coaches at The Star, demanding a lot of his defensive line in particular. It's the pairing of Marinelli's motivation and Irving's intangibles that have the Cowboys defense on the brink of taking another step toward's one of the league's best.

With their own offense set to line up against perhaps the best overall defense in Jacksonville on Sunday, Irving's return is just in time. The NFC East is far from out of reach for the Cowboys, who will be at full strength on defense once Sean Lee returns as early as next week.

The Cowboys have never lost a game in which Lee, Irving, and Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence play at least 20% of the team's snaps on defense. Perhaps this stat will have to be adjusted to include rookie Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch in short time, but for now the Cowboys are hours away from fighting for a 3-3 start to 2018, doing so with one of their most important defenders back in the lineup.

Tell us what you think about "David Irving Ready to “Be Put Through Ringer” in First Action with Cowboys" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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