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Trade Options for the Cowboys at Defensive End

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Willie Young, Lamarr Houston
Photo by David Banks / Getty Images

The Cowboys suffered another loss in Tuesday’s practice when Tyrone Crawford–the projected starting left end–went down with a right ankle injury. Crawford was carted off the field with his face in his hands and tears streaming down his face.

While we’re still waiting to hear official word and details about the severity of the injury, it sounds like it may not be quite as bad as we all initially thought. Still, one thing is for sure: the Cowboys cannot afford to lose another defensive end before the start of the season.

Due to David Irving, Damontre Moore, and Randy Gregory being suspended and the injury to Tyrone Crawford, as it stands now the Cowboys defensive end depth chart heading into week one looks something like this.

  • DeMarcus Lawrence – Right Defensive End
  • Taco Charlton – Left Defensive End
  • Benson Mayowa – Rotational Defensive End
  • Charles Tapper – Rotational Defensive End

And with all the suspensions and injuries I’m sure Lenny Jones and/or Lewis Neal will find their way on the roster for at least a couple of weeks.

That list is far from pretty, and honestly it scares me.

DeMarcus Lawrence (back), Benson Mayowa (knee), and Charles Tapper (back/hip) are all managing/dealing with injuries. Both Mayowa and Tapper were held out of practice early this week trying to recover from knee swelling and back tightness.

To make matters worse Taco Charlton is off to a slow start to camp and has yet to live up to his first round expectations.

Over the last decade or so, the Cowboys haven’t been very aggressive in the trade market. From time to time they will catch a guy on a practice squad (David Irving) or when things get real ugly, they’ll give up a late round pick for a player (Matt Cassel).

Trade Options

When searching for a trade partner the first thing to look at is what teams around the NFL are currently rebuilding their rosters. The first few teams that come to mind are the New York Jets, the Los Angeles Rams, and the Chicago Bears.

Jets, Sheldon Richardson

New York Jets – Sheldon Richardson – DE

Sheldon Richardson’s name is always brought up around trade deadlines and whenever a player around the league goes down with an injury. Richardson isn’t your prototypical 4-3 defensive end, but could fill in well on the left side of the DL.

Richardson had his worst year of his career in 2016.

With just 1.5 sacks and 38 tackles, Richardson struggled on the field but also had his fair share of struggles off the field as well. Richardson has no problem voicing his opinion and does so almost to a fault.

If the Cowboys want to take a risk on a high risk/high reward kind of player, Sheldon Richardson may be their guy.

Cost? 

The state the Jets are in right now, I believe you could get Richardson for a 2018 second and fourth round pick. With the amount of compensation picks the Cowboys are expected to have in the 2018 NFL Draft these are draft picks I would be more than willing to give up.

Robert Quinn - Rams

Los Angeles Rams – Robert Quinn – DE

Robert Quinn is one of the few very talented players the Rams currently have on their roster, but injuries have slowed Quinn down quite a bit over the last few seasons. When healthy Robert Quinn is one of the more dominant pass rushers in the NFL.

At 27 years old, Quinn still should have plenty of gas left in the tank.

In his six NFL seasons he has posted impressive sack numbers (54.0) and an even more impressive amount of forced fumbles (18). Quinn is your prototypical right defensive end, and would provide juice off the edge like the Cowboys haven’t had since DeMarcus Ware.

Cost?

With Robert Quinn’s age and the recent decline in production I also believe a 2018 second rounder and a 2019 second rounder could pry Quinn away from the Rams.

If he is fully healthy and at full strength I wouldn’t be completely against giving up a first rounder. Especially if you’re thinking the Cowboys won’t be picking until the back-end of round one like this year’s draft.

Willie Young, Lamarr Houston

Lamarr Houston #99, Willie Young #97 – Chicago Bears (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

Chicago Bears – Lamarr Houston/Willie Young – DE

The Bears currently have two veteran pass rushers who–if I was Stephen Jones–I would be making calls about immediately.

Lamarr Houston and Willie Young are interesting for a few reasons.

  • Both Houston and Young play in Chicago’s 3-4 scheme as outside linebackers
  • Both players are in their 30’s
  • Both players are currently being pushed by the younger healthier players behind them

When healthy, both players are very strong pass rushers for the Bears. In his last three years with the Bears, Willie Young has tallied up 24 sacks and 73 tackles as one of the Bears’ better defenders.

Lamarr Houston is probably the better player but hasn’t been able to stay healthy. In his seven-year career, Houston has 25 sacks on his resume, all while not playing a full 16 games since 2013.

Cost?

The Bears are in complete rebuild mode right now and would probably take whatever they could get for either guy. With their injury history, age, and talent coming up behind them, the Cowboys would be smart to see what it would take to land one of the two talented pass rushers.

I believe a mid round pick in 2018 would be enough to land either one of these guys.

The Cowboys may feel comfortable with what they have now at defensive end and stay put, but I certainly do not.

These guys listed above are options that wouldn’t set the team back financially or take away a lot of draft picks and would provide a positive veteran presence, career success, and some added juice off the edge to try to get this team competing for a Lombardi Trophy.

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Born in 1995, loved Football but more importantly the Dallas Cowboys since day one. Living in Redskins Country flying the Blue and Silver flag as high as possible. Covering the Dallas Cowboys for InsideTheStar.com and CowboysNation.com. Catch me on twitter @connorx147 !

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3 Comments
  • Corey

    I agree 100%. The Dallas defensive line has taken a beating with injuries and suspensions. Dallas should take a breath and trade for a certified pass rusher. There is all the upside in the world if the can get the right player, and not only that it could help DE Taco Charleton having an experienced DL to learn from

  • tom

    few trades are done in NFL. there are old, passable FA DEs (e.g. Freeney) still available if staff thinks we are hard up for a pass rushing specialist

  • ThePsychodad69

    Just don’t see it happening, this team is about youth and upside, bringing in old guys who do well on a bad team and hoping to squeeze another season out of them is not part of the process. For the picks your talking about Marinelli can get 5 sacks from a SelvieMayowa a healthy Lawrence or a rookie in Charlton. A 2nd and 4th for a 3-4 end, how about using the 24 on draft picks not a guy whos not wanted in his locker room.

    I’d rather talk Ware out of retirement and throw Denver a pair of bottom end picks over 2 years. Giving you a situational rusher and a HOF playercoach.

Dallas Cowboys

Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

Sean Martin

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Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

After hiring Paul Alexander to fill their vacant OL coaching position, the Dallas Cowboys are continuing to retool their offensive staff below Scott Linehan. Sanjay Lal has been hired to coach the Cowboys’ wide receivers, replacing Derek Dooley.

Lal has experience as a WR coach with four different teams, dating back to 2009 with the Oakland Raiders. He was promoted up to this position after serving as the Raiders’ quality control coach from 2007-08.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: Cowboys have reached an agreement with Sanjay Lal to become the team’s WR coach. Lal was with Indianapolis last season and replaces Derek Dooley on the staff.

Most recently, Sanjay Lal coached the receivers for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. He has also been with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.

In this interview with the Colts, Lal mentions being very detail-oriented with a focus on the technical aspects of playing receiver.

Lal beats out former Cowboys WR Miles Austin for this position, earning the right to lead a room of receivers in desperate need of fresh talent. In an offseason that’s been about finding fresh ideas with the coaching staff so far though, the Cowboys have a new voice on offense.

Tell us what you think about “Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Losing Linebackers Coach Matt Eberflus to Colts

Jess Haynie

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Matt Eberflus, Sean Lee

Multiple sources are reporting Matt Eberflus — who has been the linebackers coach and passing game coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys — will leave to join the Indianapolis Colts as the new defensive coordinator. Eberflus has been with Dallas since 2011, having joined Rob Ryan’s staff when Ryan become the coordinator for the Cowboys’ defense.

He has been the linebackers coach during his entire Dallas tenure and was also named passing game coordinator in 2016.

Tom Pelissero on Twitter

With Josh McDaniels ticketed for the #Colts, former #Cowboys assistant Matt Eberflus is expected to come along as defensive coordinator, I’m told. Lot of parts falling in place now.

If not the Colts, some thought Matt Eberflus might end up replacing Matt Patricia as the defensive coordinator in New England. Either way, it does not appear Dallas could have kept him around while Rod Marinelli remains in his current position.

Eberflus’ work in Dallas speaks for itself, and primarily through LB Sean Lee.

He has been Lee’s position coach for all but his rookie season, and in that time Lee has been one of the top defensive players in all of football.

Beyond Lee, Eberflus has also been able to get quality play out of mid-round picks like Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson. We also saw Jaylon Smith make significant progress this season.

Given Matt Eberflus has never worked with Josh McDaniels before, the fact he was on the Colts’ radar says a lot.

Make no mistake; the Cowboys lost a good one here.

Don’t panic, however. Coach Marinelli has cast a very wide net during his time in the NFL and there are a lot of potential guys, some with plenty of experience, that Dallas might look to.

It’s entirely possible that Eberflus’ replacement will be someone who Marinelli spends 2018 grooming to take over as the defensive coordinator.

Still, of all the coaching changes so far for Dallas, this one hurts most.

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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Hire Longtime Bengals OL Coach Paul Alexander

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Hire Longtime Bengals OL Coach Paul Alexander

Thus far the 2018 offseason has brought a plethora of change to the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Now it is being reported the Cowboys have hired a brand new offensive line coach, former Cincinnati Bengals’ Offensive Line Coach Paul Alexander.

Alex Marvez on Twitter

Source tells @sportingnews that Paul Alexander hired as new @dallascowboys offensive line coach

Alexander coached with the Bengals for over 20 years, and replaces the same man in Dallas who replaces him in Cincinnati, Frank Pollack. Alexander has also been the Bengals assistant head coach since 2003.

The Cowboys recently lost an assistant head coach when Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia left for Jon Gruden’s Oakland Raiders.

Per usual, the hire has been met with mixed reactions from Cowboys Nation.

Joey Ickes on Twitter

Since 2003, CIN has had only one season where they finished top-10 in Yards per attempt on the ground… They’ve been bottom-5 in the league 5 times in that span… That’s the OL Coach DAL just hired.

The hiring of an offensive line coach who’s rushing attack finished bottom five in the league in rushing yards per attempt five times since 2003 doesn’t look too great on paper. He will also teach with different techniques and styles than previous Cowboys OL coaches, which could potentially set back the offensive line early in the season.

Plus, respected Bengals’ writer Joe Goodberry did not exactly love the hire for the Cowboys.

Goodberry on Twitter

Pretty bad https://t.co/fysjZqCQ6l

Regardless, this is still a very talented offensive line and one which should lead an effective ground attack based on their talent alone. 2017 proved further that coaching matters a lot in the NFL however, and the wrong hire could set back even the most talented of units.

We will just have to wait and see how this 2018 season ends up playing out.

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