Prime trades Cowboys ought to make earlier than 2021 NFL deadline: Improve inside D-line, household reunion on O-line

No, there isn’t any hook right here that you will have to drag out of your cheek. The actual fact is, the Dallas Cowboys are 5-1 and taking part in like Tremendous Bowl contenders as they enter their Week 8 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, so there’s not a lot they should look to do because the Nov. 2 commerce deadline quickly approaches. And due to that, they do not must be thirsty patrons this 12 months. So, as we check out some doable commerce targets who may put them excessive in what could possibly be a “very, very particular 12 months” for Dak Prescott and his protection alike — the latter being led by gamers like Randy Gregory and a historic run from cornerback Trevon Diggs — utilizing big-name prospects would merely be to bait you right into a click on.

“We do not try this right here.” – King T’Challa

As an alternative, let’s blow proper previous names like Marcus Maye, as a result of the Cowboys have already got a fantastic downside with depth on the security place, and regardless of the current DUI arrest on Damontae Kazee, he probably will not face punishment till 2022 — if he does in any respect. Let’s additionally push previous Joe Haden, sources telling CBS Sports activities the Cowboys have had little interest in pursuing that commerce, and in addition Kyle Fuller, as a result of Dallas is extremely unlikely to commerce for a cornerback with the debut of rookie second-round choose Kelvin Joseph coming within the subsequent sport or two. 

Oh, after which there may be Khalil Mack, one of many largest pipe goals going, however the play of Gregory (who’ll want his rubies in 2022 and past) and the looming return of All-Professional go rusher DeMarcus Lawrence — mixed with Mack’s remaining contract — make any suggestion of the Cowboys attempting to strike that deal a laughable one. And whereas I might be on board with buying and selling for former Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones, in the event that they did not need to pay him in 2020, they are not going to need to pay him in 2021 and past with greater than $40 million in wage remaining on his present cope with the Miami Dolphins.

There’s additionally Quinnen Williams, whom the New York Jets are hellbent on not buying and selling and in the event that they break their promise to him and do it, the asking worth could be excessive entering into for any membership, however astronomical for the Cowboys as a result of, as has usually been reported by CBS Sports activities, basic supervisor Joe Douglas loathes to do any enterprise with the Joneses — because of the Jamal Adams fiasco. So to accumulate Williams (or Maye), Dallas must mortgage their future, and the probabilities of that occuring are slimmer than Calvin Klein pants.

OK, sufficient about who they probably will not go and seize. Let’s discuss who they need to realistically pursue, as to not waste your pre-deadline optimism, in a season that has the Cowboys having fun with nice depth at many positions but additionally needing to improve a choose few.

Nick Martin, C – Raiders

Compensation: Conditional 2022 sixth-round choose turns into fifth-rounder (75% taking part in time)


Reunited and it feels so good. Ever heard of some man on the Cowboys roster named Zack Martin? Effectively, he is not the one one in his household who performs within the NFL. Whereas the older Martin has been a perennial All-Professional proper guard in Dallas for fairly a while now, the youthful Martin has been quietly greater than succesful at heart in his six NFL seasons. He is a former second-round choose who additionally hails from Notre Dame and who spent his rookie contract with the Houston Texans earlier than signing with the Las Vegas Raiders this previous offseason. 

Granted, the youthful Martin is not a world-eater just like the older one is, however he can simply be considered as an immediate improve over a struggling Tyler Biadasz. And contemplating the Cowboys even have zero thought who their backup heart is — now attempting Connor McGovern’s hand at it after seeing the experiment there with Connor Williams fail massively within the preseason — sending a late-round choose to Las Vegas whereas absorbing solely $647,000 in remaining wage makes this a no brainer and could possibly be one of many midseason tweaks that readies them for a protracted playoff run. I am positive Zack would not disagree. 

Martin serves as a backup for the Raiders, but when he can step in and be a starter for the Cowboys, as he ought to be capable of, sending a conditional choose tied to taking part in time may maintain Dallas from having to discover a heart within the 2022 draft (assuming he does effectively sufficient to warrant an extension after the season).

Akiem Hicks, DT – Bears

Compensation: CB Anthony Brown + 2023 seventh-round choose


It will be a number of extra weeks earlier than the Cowboys get to see beginning defensive deal with Neville Gallimore return to the sector, and when he does, he’ll nonetheless have plenty of ramping as much as do to regain prime type since he has not performed a single common season snap in 2021. The identical goes for Trysten Hill, who returned to observe in Week 8 however has been off the sector for much longer than Gallimore whereas recovering from a torn ACL suffered in 2020. Now veteran defensive deal with Brent City has been moved to injured reserve with a triceps harm that can power him to overlook at the very least three video games, and City wasn’t constantly taking part in effectively even when he was on the sector, with Carlos Watkins additionally taking part in uneven and having additionally missed time this season.

Whereas it has been rookies Quinton Bohanna and Osa Odighizuwa who’ve stored the wheels from falling off on the defensive inside, the underside line is the Cowboys want reinforcements, and pronto. Enter Hicks, who shall be an unrestricted free agent in 2022 and, if the Bears are really not seeking to lengthen him, it is an opportunity for them to get one thing in return earlier than he doubtlessly walks subsequent offseason. This might be an even bigger contractual ask of the Cowboys, who’d must eat roughly $6.73M in remaining wage for 2021, and so they’d must therapeutic massage their books to make it occur, so providing up Anthony Brown helps.

With the looming debut of Kelvin Joseph and a proficient upstart in fellow rookie Nahshon Wright working to be the long-term reply reverse record-setting cornerback Trevon Diggs, the Cowboys can afford to maneuver on from Brown and achieve $4.25 million in financial savings by way of commerce, cash that may cowl practically 63% of the incoming hit from buying Hicks. For the Bears, they’d get a veteran who already has extra interceptions than anybody on their defensive unit, and one which’s underneath contract till 2023 whiile being due solely $5 million in 2022 wage. Meaning each groups can stroll away from this one sporting a large grin.

Michael Brockers, DT – Lions

Compensation: 2022 sixth-round choose


Let me begin right here by saying I might be extra snug providing the Lions a 2022 seventh-round choose in change for taking Brockers and his contract off their arms, however the Cowboys haven’t got a seventh-round choose subsequent 12 months — having traded it away to the Houston Texans in 2020 for defensive lineman Eli Ankou (ew). That stated, the ground now turns into the sixth-rounder (assuming they did not commerce it for Martin above), and that ought to be enticing for a Lions group that gave the Los Angeles Rams a seventh-rounder to accumulate Brockers this previous offseason. If no transfer is made for a participant like Hicks, then Brockers needs to be in consideration for the Cowboys, seeing as he delivered a five-sack season for the Rams in 2020.

The previous first-round choose has not been lights out for the Lions, however there could possibly be a psychological side to it contemplating he was surprised by the Rams’ resolution to commerce him away within the offseason, and to a group that is rebuilding from scratch and has but to win a single sport. Insert Brockers right into a lineup coached by the energetic and highly-skilled Dan Quinn on a Cowboys group that is confirmed themselves Tremendous Bowl contenders, and he may perk up a bit. His remaining 2021 wage of $696,000 is coinage discovered underneath couch cushions, and whereas he is underneath contract by the 2023 season, there are simple outs for the Cowboys if he does not carry out effectively going ahead.

In the event that they designate him as a post-June 1 reduce subsequent 12 months, they’re going to save a mixed $13 million over the ultimate two years of his deal — $3 million and $10 million, respectively — or they may search to remodel his deal if he does play effectively. The underside line is the Cowboys want extra assist/depth on the defensive inside, and whereas Hicks is the one I might purpose for first right here, if that does not pan out, I might stroll over to the Bears’ division rival and see if a deal could be struck for Brockers. 

The Cowboys have to be all-in on not losing one other particular season from Dak Prescott, and one through which the protection has enormously improved however remains to be a bit or two from being elite themselves.

Honorable point out: Melvin Ingram, DE – Steelers


All instructed, the Cowboys do not want one other go rusher, having already efficiently utilized rookie first-round choose Micah Parsons off the sting within the absence of Lawrence, however including Ingram at a low price is likely to be too good to go up. The veteran reportedly desires out of Pittsburgh after signing a one-year deal this offseason value $4 million, however with a promise of extra taking part in time, and he is now seen his snap depend drop from 100% in Week 3 to only 17% in Week 6. A former first-round choose of the Los Angeles Chargers in 2012, Ingram’s most profitable seasons within the NFL have come as of late, when he earned three consecutive Professional Bowl nods from 2017 by 2019, and he was one of many larger names to hit free company in 2021, however did not signal on with a group till becoming a member of the Steelers in coaching camp this previous July.

Ingram does have some warts although, contemplating he performed in simply seven video games final 12 months on account of a knee harm that landed him on season-ending injured reserve in November 2020, end the 12 months with no sacks for the primary time in his profession. He is now 4 seasons faraway from his career-best season in 2017, when he racked up 10.5 sacks, and the Cowboys are going to need to know he can really contribute earlier than seeking to ship away an asset of some type in change for him.

It would serve Ingram effectively to play underneath Quinn, however his situation is taking part in time, and he’ll run face-first into the identical situation in North Texas as soon as Lawrence returns reverse Gregory. If the Cowboys can persuade him it is OK to play backup on a contender than one attempting to determine if they’re or not, a late-round choose makes absorbing his “small” remaining wage could be a magic recipe for all concerned. However, once more, Ingram desires taking part in time and toss within the coming return of Dorance Armstrong from injured reserve as effectively, he’d probably be disgruntled in Dallas, too. 

It does bear mentioning although, as a result of Jerry Jones has offered free brokers on loads of issues prior to now.

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