Dallas Cowboys Need To Consider Trading A 'Core' Player

Last week, I suggested we need to make a ‘Herschel Walker type trade’ to speed up our rebuild.  I got a lot of great responses, most suggest we trade Felix Jones or Miles Austin, or both.  These are OK ideas, but what can we get for them?

Felix has yet to prove he is more than just a change of pace back, and as Cj pointed out in his January 7 article:  ‘Evaluating Jerry Jones 2011 Cowboys: Who Should We Blame?’, once DeMarco Murray went down, Felix Jones’ running ability didn’t scare any defenses away from teeing off on Tony Romo.

As for Miles Austin, he never found a rhythm with his quarterback once he got back from the hamstring injury.  Put that lack of rhythm together with the emergence of Laurent Robinson and we see that maybe, just maybe, there is life for the Dallas Cowboys without Miles Austin.  Problem is the rest of the NFL can see that too, so what will they give up to get an above-average wide receiver that was so adequately replaced?  I’m not saying Miles isn’t a great receiver, or even that I would want to trade him, but you’ve got to admit that he lost some of his luster, and with it, trade value.

Lets look back at some draft history…

If memory serves, in ’88, the Dallas Cowboys traded Hall of Fame halfback Tony Dorsett to the Denver Broncos – Dorsett requested it – (for like a 5th round draft pick in ’89).  Herschel Walker was besting him in Dallas’ back field, and…wait!  We had Herschel Walker AND Tony Dorsett in the same backfield and we still couldn’t do crap in ’86 and ’87!? … OK, anyway, we used that 5th round pick to get the great Willis Crockett – linebacker out of Georgia Tech ( never heard of him) …But, you know who else we got in that draft?

It was Jerry Jones first NFL draft and we netted: Troy Aikman, Daryl Johnston, Mark Stepnoski, Tony Tolbert, and Keith Jennings.  Not bad for a first year GM and first year Coach, and that was before we traded Herschel Walker (the year before that, in ’88, the last year Tom Landry and Tex Schram ran things, the Cowboys drafted Michael Irvin, Ken Norton Jr, and Chad Hennings.  Of those two drafts, 8 players were keys to the Cowboys Superbowl run, and 5 of them were ‘core‘ players).  Still, Jimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones thought (even with all this talent) that the Dallas Cowboys were so bad that they needed a big, mid-season, trade.  It had to be a ‘core’ player – If you get a chance, look up ‘Herschel Walker Trade’ on Wikipedia – it’s a complete breakdown of the trade and a surprising (to me) note about Michael Irvin and the Raiders – .   From that trade, Emmitt Smith, Darren Woodson and Alvin Harper were the 3 biggest impact players.  We still needed Charles Haley to complete our Superbowl team.  Just for perspective – of those 12 players I mentioned, only 3 came from the Herschel Walker trade – .  Still, if we’re counting, that’s 3 for 1.

The point I’m trying to make by going back to the pre-’90’s drafts is to show that the Cowboys of the ’90’s mainly built there team thru the draft.  Also, they weren’t afraid (or were desperate enough) to trade a ‘core’ player.  The Herschel Walker trade only gave us a couple more impact players, but it also gave us some solid fill-in players to make us less ‘top heavy’ and flexibility in the next few drafts to complete the build.   That’s exactly what we may need now – a couple of impact players, then solid fill-in players and flexibility in the next few drafts.  The only way we get there, in the window we have left, for the ‘core’ players we have now, is by trading one of those ‘core’ players (if you think that Felix Jones is a ‘core’ player –  I don’t – then include him).

For me, a ‘core’ player has to be an impact player.  He has to be a ticket selling player (don’t underestimate this quality).  He also has to be one of the best at his position in the NFL, now or with-in the next 2 years.  The Dallas Cowboys ‘core’ players are:  Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Tyron Smith, Dez Bryant, DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff, and Sean Lee.  In past articles, I had 4 ‘core’ players and another tier of players that were almost there.  Two things: one, when talking trades, these are our best players; Two, I changed my mind by the end of the season on the 2 tier thing.

Now, here’s the hard part.  Which one?  While still maintaining the Dallas Cowboys as a team, which ‘core’ player should we trade?  To which team? and for what?  Note:  we  can package any of these players with Felix Jones or Miles Austin (I’m leaning towards keeping Miles) if you think the trade would reap  markedly better results.

It’s not as easy as thinking something like, “Trade Tony Romo, he sucks!” because, remember, then you have to replace him on the roster AND improve your team at the same time.  Also, in this age of free agency and the salary cap, there are no sucker trades anymore (unless you count Roy Williams).  I have a working idea who I’d trade, but not quite to which team and for what compensation.

As I did last week, I’d like to see who you would trade.  But I’m talking ‘core’ player here, not the fringe or tired or never will be players currently on the roster.  Over the next few weeks, each week I’ll feature one of the ‘core’ players in a ‘For Your Consideration’ titled article in which I’ll  go into depth about who we trade and where I think they should go, and of course, what we should get in compensation.  The ultimate goal is to fill out a Dallas Cowboys roster that gets to the Superbowl in the next 3 years.

Artie Cappello

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Tags: Cowboys Dallas Dallas Cowboys DeMarco Murray DeMarcus Ware Herschel Walker Jason Witten Jay Ratliff Jerry Jones Jimmy Johnson Michael Irvin NFL NFL Draft NFL East Roy Williams Sean Lee Tom Landry Tony Dorsett Tony Romo Tyron Smith

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