The NFL trade deadline is tomorrow at 4:00 pm, and it’s expected to be another wild one. There have already been a number of reports of prime players who are on the trading block. So, should the Dallas Cowboys make another big move?
Teams who are expected to finish in the bottom 5-10 in the league will move on from players they think can bring them solid draft compensation. The teams either fighting for the playoffs, or even teams with likely Super Bowl aspirations, will decide if they’d rather have the late draft picks or a player to help win now and potentially the future.
The Cowboys made the first move, trading a first-round draft pick for wide receiver Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders. It was a wild and polarizing movie that reminded some of the old Jerry Jones, who would ship prime picks for players and these players would end up not producing at the level expected.
Nonetheless, wide receiver was a position of need and one that the Cowboys possibly would have looked at with that 2019 pick. Jerry and company must have decided that no rookie in next year's class was better than Amari Cooper and decided he was the better option.
The team is currently at 3-4 and still in the NFC East title race. They shouldn’t stop at Cooper. The team should explore all players on the trade block who could potentially fill any of the remaining holes the team has.
I highly doubt that they go for another wide receiver. So, I apologize to anyone who was hoping DeVante Parker, Demaryius Thomas or DeSean Jackson could be a target. I also doubt they go for another running back like LeSean McCoy or Le’Veon Bell. Sorry.
There are some noteworthy players the Cowboys could and should consider. It will all come down to compensation and that both parties are willing to bite. If so, then the Cowboys have a shot at getting at least one of these players.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
A bit of a shocking move, but reports circulated yesterday that the Packers safety was on the trade block. Clinton-Dix has had a great year so far, totaling 24 tackles, three interceptions and three pass breakups, so it seemed odd that they’d be willing to give up such a productive player.
It would seem that the Packers believe a few things here:
1) Clinton-Dix is in a contract year and they might not want to pay him. 2) The Packers have more depth in the secondary than in years past 3) They know they can get great compensation for him and still succeed this season.
The Cowboys missed out on trading for Earl Thomas but that shouldn’t stop them from sifting through the safety market. Especially when they’re ask skilled as this.
A player of his talent would fetch anywhere from a first to as low as a third round pick. The Cowboys were willing to give up a first for Cooper. I wonder what they’d be willing to give up for this man?
I tweeted out a while back that the Cowboys should trade for Amari Cooper and Charles Clay. After the Cooper trade became a reality, I immediately reiterated that they need to go after the Buffalo Bills tight end.
Again, I seriously doubt they go after another big name receiver, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t give Dak Prescott another weapon. Prescott relies on his tight ends in case he gets in trouble, and the ones Dallas currently have haven’t been as reliable as hoped.
Geoff Swaim has been the top receiving threat among that group with 19 catches, 205 yards, and a touchdown. This his best year in terms of stats, but it’s not enough.
Blake Jarwin has been disappointing and rookie fourth-round pick Dalton Shultz has been inactive most of the season. While Rico Gathers has gotten more looks in recent weeks, it hasn’t been consistent enough for the Cowboys to comfortably throw it to him.
Charles Clay in Buffalo has been outstanding. Prior to this year, he had 157 catches, 1,638 yards, and nine touchdowns. This year, with a new quarterback, he’s been massively underused; only 16 catches and 133 yards to his name. He’s much better than that and deserves much better.
Giving Dak Prescott a legitimate receiving threat at tight end would make him much more comfortable under pressure and we could see this team move the ball.
Charles Clay is still under contract through next year and doesn’t turn 30 until the end of the season. Buffalo is in rebuild mode and could use all the compensation that they can muster. Clay may only cost as much as a fifth-round pick, and if that’s the case the Cowboys should pull the trigger.
I said no BIG name receivers. However, this team could definitely use a return man. Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the league's best return men, playing on a team who’s not afraid to trade some of their best players.
After trading away Ryan Switzer during the draft (a move I personally hated) the Cowboys were down a return man. They started the year relying on Tavon Austin. He’s got serious speed but can’t stay healthy.
Cole Beasley has been used lately but mostly fair catches punts, and Deonte Thompson generally takes the touchback on kick returns. This team is getting zero help in the return game.
Patterson is a player who takes risks but has the size and speed to allow it. The two-time All-Pro and Pro Bowl player has six returns for touchdowns in his career and has a career average of just over 30 yards per return.
While not really a punt returner, he would still be an improvement in that area as well. That would also allow Beasley to solely focus on his slot play. It would be the smart move.
The Cowboys need a return man and the Patriots are notorious for trading their best players (sans Tom Brady). If the Cowboys could offer a sensible pick and/or player to compensate then this move might be the most important on this list. You need to win all three facets of the game, and the Cowboys have seriously lacked in this area.
The Cowboys miss that Lance Dunbar-type. They miss having a third down/receiving back to spread the offense around, and give the team burst out of the backfield win Ezekiel Elliott is not in.
Despite a contract extension from the Browns this off-season, Duke Johnson (arguably their best offensive weapon) has barely been used. While he’s no threat to Elliott as the lead man, he is the kind of player the Cowboys were hoping Tavon Austin would be.
However, even after trading Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson still hasn’t gotten the looks he’s being paid for. Yes, he’s gotten plenty of catches but he deserves better.
The Cowboys like those extra speed backs. They throw to them out of the backfield and in the slot, run sweeps and screens successfully, and in case Prescott is being pressured, he’s another security blanket they can rely on.
Ezekiel Elliott is an elite running back but they can’t keep forcing him to play every snap if they want him healthy for the rest of the year. Rod Smith is a reliable second option but speed kills, and this team would kill for some speed. Jerry Jones, make it happen!
When you get halfway through a season, you start to figure out which players mesh and which players, who you want to keep for the long-haul, and which players you believe are expendable. The Cowboys are there right now.
The Cowboys have both types. They have players who are not only expendable, but could fetch solid compensation. At this point in the season, they’re still in it but they need to also have building blocks for the future, especially now that they no longer have a first-round pick next year.
Here are some current Cowboys that the team could consider moving:
1) Allen Hurns is probably the most popular option. He recently expressed he was displeased that he wasn’t seeing more targets and, despite coming off his best game of the season, his targets look like they’ll be even lower now.
With Cole Beasley going nowhere, Michael Gallup getting more and more snaps each game and improving each week, plus the addition of Amari Cooper, Hurns will likely be even more frustrated.
Realistically, he might not fetch more than a fifth-round pick. However, the Cowboys should do him a favor. Send him somewhere that needs him, get something back for him, and everyone can move on.
2) This may not be very popular, but I believe Randy Gregory is a possible trade chip. Despite his off the field concerns, when he has played he's produced for this team.
Taco Charlton has taken a serious step forward this season and DeMarcus Lawrence is going nowhere. David Irving looks like he’ll also get an extension and Dorance Armstrong has shown promise. Randy Gregory could be the odd man out.
Every team needs a pass rusher and, while Gregory has had his moments this season, I wonder how much longer Dallas will want to hold on to him. He may be worth a draft pick or the right player to move on from.
3) Finally, Sean Lee is a name that might pop up. Personally, I’d like to keep him for the rest of the season but his time here is numbered.
As great a player as Shawn Lee is, he has always had a history of injuries and he is heading towards the wrong side of 30. There is a reason that Dallas drafted Leighton Vander Esch in the first round this year. Not only has he progressed well alongside Jaylon Smith, he’s made Lee expendable.
Sean Lee is a perfect fit for a team making a playoff or even a Super Bowl run this year; a veteran with experience and plenty of talent left in his tank. I’m not sure he will be on the Cowboys' roster next year, so they might make the move now and get something out of him while they can.
REPORT: Cowboys WR Michael Gallup Out 2-4 Weeks After Knee Surgery
Two games into a seeming breakout season, Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Michael Gallup will now be out for the next 2-4 weeks after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He suffered the injury late into the Cowboys' victory over the Washington Redskins yesterday.
An MRI revealed the extent of the injury today. There were hopes that Gallup had only suffered a contusion, but unfortunately he will be out at least a couple of games after requiring this minor knee procedure.
Gallup is the team leader in catches (13) and receiving yards (226) after the first two weeks of the 2019 season.
Sources: #Cowboys promising WR Michael Gallup is having arthroscopic surgery to trim his meniscus, knocking him out 2-4 weeks. No structural damage besides the meniscus tear, so the return should be quick.
The Cowboys still have Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb as a strong starting duo. They also hope to get Tavon Austin back this week after he was inactive in Washington with concussion issues.
Gallup's absence could be big for Devin Smith, who had a 51-yard touchdown catch against the Redskins and should see more work in the coming weeks. It also may prompt Dallas to keep prospect Cedrick Wilson, just called up from the practice squad a week ago, on the 53-man roster a while longer.
Despite this depth, Michael Gallup will still be missed for however long he's out. Hopefully he can return on the quick side of the projection and keep his 2019 momentum going.
Robert Quinn Returns; How Will Cowboys Make Room on Roster?
Defensive End Robert Quinn, who the Cowboys traded for during the offseason, will make his Dallas debut this week after serving a two-game suspension to start 2019. To add Quinn to the 53 for Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins, the Cowboys will need to make some kind of move to create a roster spot.
The question now is how Dallas makes that room. Who winds up leaving the team this week to create that spot for Quinn?
Ideally, the Cowboys will be able to find a trade partner for the disgruntled Taco Charlton. The former 1st-Round pick has been targeted for a while now, and trade rumors have intensified after Taco's been inactive for the first two games of the regular season.
Unfortunately, the goal of moving Charlton before Quinn comes back is something the rest of the NFL is also aware of. If a team does have interest, why trade for Taco now when you can potentially just claim him off waivers in a few more days? The Cowboys are the ones with the deadline.
Trading Taco, or releasing him if a trade doesn't materialize in the next few days, is the most logical solution here. It not only get Charlton out of Dallas and fresh start somewhere else, but it all takes place within the defensive end position. One DE out to make room for another; makes sense, right?
But let's say that the Cowboys aren't ready to just lose Charlton for nothing, or aren't satisfied with the trade offers they get. Could they elect to hang on to Taco and create that roster spot some other way?
If that's the case then the move will likely come at another position on the roster. Dallas isn't going to part with any other young prospects at DE like Dorance Armstrong or Joe Jackson. They also may have just lost DT Antwaun Woods for a while with a knee sprain coming out of the Redskins game, so the Cowboys won't like losing any additional defensive line depth right now.
The easiest move would be cutting Cedrick Wilson, who was just added last week off the practice squad. Dallas called Wilson up for punt return duties while Tavon Austin recovers from a concussion.
Assuming Austin is able to come back this week, Wilson's release is the simplest way to create a roster spot. It buys Dallas time and leverage in handling the Taco Charlton situation and doesn't force their hand.
One x-factor here is how Michael Gallup's knee is doing after yesterday's game. If there's any thought that Gallup might need a week off, especially with the hapless Miami Dolphins on the schedule, perhaps Dallas wants to keep Wilson for one more week for WR depth.
I think the Cowboys would be fine going with just four receivers in Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, Tavon Austin, and Devin Smith if they have to. But if there is a reason that they want to hang on to Cedrick for this week, that would mean looking elsewhere for a roster spot.
Another option could be on the offensive line, where Dallas is currently heavy with ten total linemen and two guys who've been inactive in both regular season games. Backups Adam Redmond and Brandon Knight haven't suited up against New York or Washington, so there is a certain level of expendability there.
Dallas went long on OL depth this year due to concerns about Zack Martin's back and the 2020 free agency of Joe Looney and Xaver Su'a-Filo. They didn't want to risk losing either Redmond or Knight from the practice squad.
But with the season now well underway, the Cowboys may feel more confident in being able to move one of those prospects and slip under most teams' radars.
A final area to consider for a roster move is safety. With Darian Thompson and Donovan Wilson both returning from preseason ankle injuries, Dallas now has five total safeties in addition to five cornerbacks.
The Cowboys have have always intended to keep this many total defensive backs, but it's more than they usually have in previous seasons. The general feeling at final cuts was that Kavon Frazier kept his job due to the injuries to Thompson and Wilson, and his time on the roster might be short-lived after they got healthy.
Frazier is a strong special teams player but hasn't ever broken through on defense, and his rookie deal expires at the end of this season. Assuming that Donovan Wilson is able to fill the void on kickoff and punt coverage, Kavon becomes another expendable player this week.
Again, the ideal move will be to find a new home for Taco Charlton and make the easy swap within the defensive end position. Robert Quinn comes in, boosts the first-team talent, and increases the depth via ripple effect.
But as we just illustrated, the Cowboys have other options beyond dumping their former 1st-Round pick. They could find a roster spot at receiver, safety, or on the offensive line and then keep looking for Taco trade partners for the next several weeks.
Time will tell, and ultimately the player lost is probably someone who wouldn't have been active this week or most weeks to come. Just don't assume it's going to be Taco Charlton; there are still plenty of ways this could go.
However it shakes out, we're just glad to finally see Robert Quinn out there and hopefully improving the Cowboys' pass rush.
The Brady Report: Cowboys Offense Dominant Despite Slow Start
The Dallas Cowboys followed up their dominant performance last week with yet another blowout divisional win on Sunday, defeating the Washington Redskins 31-21.
While the Cowboys controlled the game for much of the last three quarters, they actually got off to a slow start in Washington. Once again they fell behind to a lesser team 7-0 early, before scoring on nearly every possession to finish off the game.
Let's get into my game notes from the Cowboys' week two win.
- We have to start these game notes by talking about Dak Prescott. The Cowboys franchise quarterback was incredible for the second straight week to open this season. Despite the early interception, Prescott continued to look poised and calm in the pocket, allowing him to deliver a dime to Devin Smith for the team's first touchdown. Prescott was picking apart the Redskins secondary during the final three quarters to the tune of 269 yards and three touchdowns. Plus, he was very effective as a runner, including his dynamic 42 yard run on third down and one with the game still tied. If Dak is going to play like this, the Cowboys can beat anyone.
- Ezekiel Elliott looked a lot more comfortable Sunday than he did against the Giants. Not only were his raw numbers better, rushing for 111 yards and a touchdown, he was back to his ways of falling forward and avoiding the first tackler. He still didn't really explode the way we all know he can, which means opposing defenses should be scared when considering what the Cowboys offense's full potential could be.
- Which receiver didn't ball out Sunday? Michael Gallup seems to be developing an awesome rapport with Prescott, Amari Cooper continues to prove he's a legit WR1, Randall Cobb was once again effective on swing passes and in the slot, and even Devin Smith had himself a monster game. If Devin Smith is going to be the speed deep threat he was against Washington, look out.
- Ok, now that I've congratulated the majority of the offense, let's talk about the one guy who I'm sure would've liked to have a better day. Left guard Connor Williams. The second year guard was solid overall Sunday, but was abused by Daron Payne from time to time. Most notably, Payne went right through Williams both to force Prescott's interception and on the only sack of the game. Williams has to be better going forward, because he is the clear weak link across this dynamic offensive line right now. Luckily, as a whole, this line has been very good through two games.
- Defensively, things could've gone better for the Cowboys. While a lot of the production through the air came through garbage time, Terry McLaurin was still too effective down the field. Chris Thompson was also getting too much YAC against these defenders. Anthony Brown had a rough day in the slot, missing multiple tackles and not being too great in coverage either. Jourdan Lewis, however, did have himself a good game in limited snaps. Both he and Byron Jones made impressive open field tackles on third downs.
- The Cowboys run defense stepped up from a week ago. The tackling of their front seven overall improved as the game went on, and they held Adrian Peterson to just 25 yards on the ground. Part of this was because of how quickly the Cowboys got to their 21-7 lead in the third quarter, but they were solid nonetheless.
- Dallas' pass rush will benefit greatly from Robert Quinn's return next week against Miami. DeMarcus Lawrence created a couple big pressures on Sunday, but Quinn's presence should help free him up a bit to create more of a consistent pass rush.
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