Late night #Cowboys hypothetical….Dallas has the most CB depth they’ve had in years. What would the compensation need to be for you to trade Jourdan Lewis?
Cowboys Nation had a lot of thoughts on the matter. From Earl Thomas to Corey Coleman to draft pick compensation to, “get outta here.”
While on the surface, trading Jourdan Lewis — arguably the best corner on the Dallas Cowboys depth chart — seems crazy, you have to also think about it. Really, you should be thinking about almost every player on your roster and their tradability.
With Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, and Anthony Brown the top three corners — at the moment — in nickel situations, the team could have an opportunity to use their depth to acquire a player who helps them at a position of need. Say a TE or a WR or an interior defensive lineman…
It’s these kinds of thoughts that have kept the New England Patriots as the best team in football for nearly two decades. Aside from Tom Brady, they explore everything. Everyone is tradable. Super Bowl winners, leaders on the team, star players. Everyone.
But it did have me thinking, who are the players on the Dallas Cowboys that are untouchable. I’ll give you five.
1. Dak Prescott, Quarterback
As I outlined in my 2018 projection for Dak last week, I think he’s a franchise quarterback that’s capable of leading this team to the Super Bowl. You don’t trade him and you don’t think about trading him unless someone is offering you a superior quarterback like
Aaron Rodgers, which they aren’t.
You just don’t trade young franchise caliber quarterbacks this early in their career unless they aren’t working out for you anymore.
Now, the wide receiver group is devoid of the sort of gravitational pull Dez Bryant had, but Dak will be as efficient as he was in 2016 at getting the ball to the open man.
Dak is going to have his best season yet in 2018 and the Dallas Cowboys will reap the rewards.
2. Zack Martin, Guard
As he prepares to become the highest paid guard in the NFL, Zack Martin is an anchor on an offensive line that is the best in the NFL.
He was the final piece to the puzzle when they drafted him in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft and he hasn’t disappointed. Here’s the resume:
- Two-time First Team All-Pro
- Two-time Second Team All-Pro
- Four-time Pro Bowler
Yes, the contract is rich, but he pretty much sums up your identity as the Dallas Cowboys. Big, strong, athletic, and physical in a run game that has become the bread and butter of this team over the last four seasons.
Going into his fifth season at right guard, there’s no sign that he’s slowing down in his play and production.
He’s the best in the NFL at his position and you don’t trade that away willy-nilly.
3. DeMarcus Lawrence, Defensive End
Finding elite pass rush is about as difficult as it is to find elite tackle play. Make no mistake about it, DeMarcus Lawrence is elite. After 2018, the rest of the NFL will think so too.
Lawrence’s ability to rush the passer and play the run with equal effectiveness is what makes him so good. He was on the field for 67% of the team’s defensive snaps, and nobody along the defensive line played more than he did.
In 2017, Lawrence received his first All-Pro selection after a 14.5 sack season. He did that while only having David Irving for eight games last season. Imagine if Irving isn’t suspended or concussed.
The two seasons “Tank” has played all 16 games, Lawrence had eight sacks in 2015 and 14.5 in 2017. Once you find an elite pass rusher, you don’t let him walk away.
Get ready to pay out some cash in the 2019 offseason.
4. Tyron Smith, Tackle
Sure, Tyron Smith has dealt with back injuries that have limited his play some over the last several years, but even in a limited capacity, he’s better than all but a few offensive tackles in the NFL.
In his career he’s only missed seven games, though six have come in the last two seasons combined. He’s only 28 years old and has several years of his prime left to make a significant impact for the Dallas Cowboys.
5. Travis Frederick, Center
While not nearly as valuable as the offensive tackle on your football team, and perhaps not as dominant as Zack Martin, Travis Frederick is elite in his own right.
Keeping the front side of the pocket clean for a quarterback to step into is so valuable, and Frederick does an amazing job at that.
Travis Frederick has surrendered one sack over the past four seasons. The end.
As the leader of the offensive line, his intelligence and defensive recognition helps everyone along the line.
Having an elite center isn’t something you usually think of when it comes to roster construction priorities, but when you don’t have it, you notice it. You may not notice Frederick’s greatness on every play, but that’s probably a good thing. He does his job and the offense flourishes with him at the center of it.
Sean Lee, Linebacker
Though he’s 32, we saw what the defense looked like without him last season. Given that the rest of the linebacking options are unproven, you don’t want to move his leadership ability and talent level.
Jourdan Lewis, Cornerback
Like I said earlier, he may be the best corner on the team, and with the NFL employing three wide receiver sets more than 70% of the time and using quick-hit passes over the middle to move their offense down the field, Lewis is very valuable.
He’s sticky and aggressive, both things that make a slot corner very important to a defense. While he may be behind Anthony Brown at the moment, don’t expect that to continue.
Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back
The general perception around the league is that the running back position has become devalued. I’d argue that the second contract at the running back position has become devalued. Team’s still want elite runners like Ezekiel Elliott or Todd Gurley, they’re just becoming less likely to pay them elite money for their second contract. Elliott’s about to turn 23 and will have three more seasons before he hits the dreaded 27-year-old RB decline.
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I do think the Dallas Cowboys — like the Patriots — should look at most of their players as opportunities to upgrade, but these are a few that I’d be less likely to deal.
Who are your Dallas Cowboys untouchables?