The Dallas Cowboys have made several moves over the last 48 hours. But none of those moves have addressed the glaring deficiencies that the team has along their offensive and defensive lines. Could this mean a big trade could be in the works in Big D? Possibly so.
The Cowboys finalized their roster on Saturday. They then promptly placed guard Nate Livings on the season-ending IR list. The next day, Dallas traded defensive tackle Sean Lissemore to the San Diego Chargers. Both of these moves resulted in even more lack of depth at the two main positions of concern for this team. So how does the front office respond to this need? They acquire two linebackers?!?!?
The Cowboys traded the Kansas City Chiefs a seventh round selection in 2014 for special teams ace and seven-year veteran Edgar Jones. Then they turn around and claim linebacker Kyle Bosworth, another special teams only player, who was released from the New York Giants on Saturday. Both players seemingly were acquired to bolster the Cowboys’ special teams unit, who’s play was horrid in the preseason. But these moves fail to address the Cowboys most pressing needs at offensive guard and defensive tackle.
Since the Cowboys did not address these glaring holes on their depth chart via the waiver wire, it is assumed they have another plan in mind. Owner and general manger Jerry Jones made is crystal clear last Thursday night before Dallas’ final preseason game against the Houston Texans: The Cowboys will be signing, at the very least, a new defensive tackle. Since then, the team has actually gotten worse at that very position by trading away Lissemore.
Again, it’s all just more speculation wood for the rumor fire that could mean a possible big trade is in the works. But you’d have to assume the Cowboys would have addressed these needs by claiming players on the open-market on Sunday. that is unless they already had something in the works. It could be as simple as Dallas didn’t like was available out on the wire. But that just doesn’t sound like the team who brought so many players into training camp late like quarterback Alex Tanney and defensive end Jason Vega. Both of whom are now on the teams’ official practice squad.
If there is a possible trade in the works, which Cowboy players have the largest value as trade bait? The biggest name that first pops into my head is wideout Miles Austin. The under-performing receiver out of Monmouth is scheduled to make a whopping $30+ million in his next four years according to rotoworld.com (2013: $840,000 (+ $5.892 million “signing” bonus), 2014: $5.5 million, 2015: $6.888 million, 2016: $11.38 million, 2017: Free Agent). That’s a lot of money for a wideout who is better suited for the slot and who is also prone to injury (and drops). Take into account that the Cowboys also drafted Baylor wideout Terrance Williams in the third round of this year’s draft. It was believed Williams would eventually replace Austin, but a concussion in training camp stunted his development. The Cowboys have so much receiver talent and offensive options that losing Austin probably wouldn’t hurt their efficiency on that side of the ball.
Other names that could possibly be on the trading block are quarterback Kyle Orton, tight end James Hanna and newly acquired free agent linebacker Justin Durant.
Orton has been long seen by some as the best back-up quarterback in the league. With teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, and the New York Jets all needing veteran quarterback help, Orton’s name and past success as a starter could bring a nice potential return via trade.
The Cowboys decided to keep five tight ends on their final 53-man roster this season. That could mean one of those players is on the way out. My guess would be James Hanna. Although the Cowboys love Hanna’s athletic ability and potential, their tight end of the future is second round pick Gavin Escobar. With veterans Dante Rosario and Andre Smith backing him up already, Hanna is expendable. (Update: The Cowboys did trade a tight end, but it was Dante Rosario. He was sent to the Chicago Bears for a seventh round pick in 2015)
Durant joined the Cowboys after having a career year with the Detroit Lions in 2012 recording a total of 103 tackles. But the preseason play of sixth round pick DeVonte Holloman could make Durant expendable. The main concern I would have with this move is depth. But since the Cowboys just added two linebackers to their roster over the weekend, that is no longer an issue. The only other hiccup is simply inexperience. But Dallas may be willing to live with that, if they can bolster their defensive or offensive line.
Bottom line: Something better be going on behind-the-scenes in Dallas. If not, this could become the biggest debacle in Big “D” since the Roy Williams trade of 2008.