Things calmed down some with the Bill Parcels era, and instead of trading up or out the franchise traded down to add picks. Then Wade Phillips came to town and the sickness came back with him.
In 2007, Jerry traded a second, a third and a fourth to the Eagles for the right to draft Anthony Spencer at 22 overall. The next year he traded a first, a fifth and a seventh to Seattle to move up three spots and draft Mike Jenkins. Then in 2009 he traded out, giving a first, a third and a sixth to Detroit for (gulp) wide receiver Roy Williams.
By comparison, the 2012 Morris Claiborne trade – the 14th and 45th overall picks to St. Louis to move up to the 6th spot – seems tame, but even that move is questionable. First- and second-round picks need to start. Even if Claiborne turns out to be everything Jerry hoped for and more, a rebuilding franchise with holes all over the roster can’t really afford to trade two starters for one.
Why? Because the draft is important. Look what Jerry got for trading down with San Francisco this year. The Cowboys could be starting Eric Reid at safety, or Sherrif Floyd at defensive tackle. Instead they’re starting Travis Frederick at center AND Terrance Williams at wide receiver. That’s a quality trade.
How do you build a contender in the salary-cap era? The same way you get to star in a Nike shoe commercial: Accumulate and protect your draft picks like the precious organizational assets they are, and pack your roster with young, affordable talent. Smart move, Jerry.