One of the hot topics swirling around the Dallas Cowboys right now is a potential trade for Jets' safety Jamal Adams. We can't stop ourselves from excited speculation, but what would that move mean for one of the team's favorite young players in Xavier Woods?
Adams and Woods both entered the NFL in 2017 near opposite ends of the rookie spectrum. Jamal was the 6th-overall pick in the draft and Xavier went in the 6th Round.
The gap has narrowed since then. Adams has certainly lived up to his billing as an elite safety prospect, and Woods has outperformed his draft status and emerged as Dallas' best safety the last two seasons.
That said, Xavier is far from elite. The Cowboys would be making a significant upgrade at either safety position by acquiring Jamal Adams.
Could that move mean the end for Woods' time in Dallas?
Dallas added another big-name safety this offseason in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Still just 27 years old, Ha Ha is a former 1st-Round pick like Adams and spent over four seasons playing under new Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy.
Granted, it was also under McCarthy that Clinton-Dix was traded to Washington in the middle of 2018. So it would probably be unwise to assume that Ha Ha is untouchable now.
Both Xavier Woods and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix have expiring contracts. So that doesn't really factor into the decision; Dallas would have to re-up with either of them in 2021.
If Jamal Adams were to join the Cowboys this year, Dallas could consider trading one of their current projected starters. At this point, one could argue that Woods' youth and upside make him a more attractive asset for other team than the older Clinton-Dix.
Dallas would still have Darian Thompson, Daryl Worley, and Donovan Wilson as intriguing assets to fill out their safety depth chart. There's also the talk of CB Chidobe Awuzie transitioning to safety.
Even if the Cowboys could only get back a 4th or 5th-Round pick in exchange for Xavier, that would be a decent profit for a guy originally taken in the 6th Round.
Ultimately, I doubt that Jamal Adams is coming to Dallas. The cost is just too much both in draft capital and in the contract that the Cowboys would have to soon give him. The team hasn't valued the safety position much in modern history and I can't see them making such a dramatic leap now.
Xavier Woods is a factor in that as well. If he continued to grow in 2020 under a new coaching staff, Woods might be a long-term answer at safety at a fraction of the total cost in acquiring Adams.
But with the Cowboys desperate to get back to the Super Bowl, any opportunity to add elite talent is never going to be ignored.
If Dallas did pull the trigger on trading for Jamal Adams, in addition to having just added Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the most likely scenario is Xavier Woods being demoted to a primary backup role. I also think the Cowboys would actively shop him in a trade.