Should Dallas Cowboys make their biggest August push for a veteran pass-rush specialist by trading the New England Patriots for defensive end Kony Ealy?
It was 25 years ago today that the Dallas Cowboys dynasty of the 1990’s was born. Nobody knew it at the time, but it wouldn’t take long before the defending Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins would become the first team to learn that things had changed not just in the NFC East, but perhaps in the NFL.
When the San Francisco 49ers foolishly traded away Charles Haley for little more than a bottle of wine and a basket of cheese, it not only catapulted the young Cowboys to the very top of the NFL but also dropped the 49ers to a bona fide second-tier contender.
On paper, Haley was just what the doctor ordered. The former James Madison linebacker came as a complete surprise late during training camp to a team that had been eliminated from the playoffs the season before by a team from the NFC Central (basically today’s NFC North) because the Dallas defense couldn’t rush the quarterback.
Like the ’92 Cowboys, today’s team went home early in the postseason last January because it could get close to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers nearly enough, and that’s pretty much that.
After allocating numerous selections in the 2017 NFL Draft to it’s lagging defense, the Dallas Cowboys still came away wondering exactly who’s going to bring the heat off the edge this season. Facing numerous suspensions to players like Randy Gregory, David Irving and free-agent newcomer Damontre Moore, the Cowboys are hardly proven when it comes to pass-rush specialists who can get to the quarterback early and often.
Now comes word that the New England Patriots are shopping a new free-agent acquisition of their own in defensive end Kony Ealy.
This is something to think about.
he Patriots traded away a second round pick to the Carolina Panthers for their 2014 second-round draft selection back in March, yet the Pats are already done with the former University of Missouri standout.
Like Haley many years ago, Ealy would bring an intangible that the Dallas Cowboys have little of – Super Bowl experience. Ealy played in Super Bowl 50 a couple of seasons ago and fell on the losing end to the Denver Broncos, so it’s not exactly the same thing as Haly coming to North Texas with a couple of Super Bowl rings already in the jewelry box.
Further, Ealy doesn’t appear to be on the way out of Deflateville for the same reasons that Haley was ushered out of the Bay Area. In this case, it appears as though Ealy just doesn’t fit the scheme up there and this could be to the advantage of the Cowboys. About the only negative I can find regarding Ealy is something about a puppy right after that Super Bowl 50 loss – yes, a puppy.
Again, good enough.
If the Pats gave up a second round pick for Ealy, might it be possible to get this still-rising talent for a third round pick next year? If I’m Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, I’m looking into this possibility given the fact that America’s Team is in need of a proven pass rusher in a serious way. This scenario seems to have that aura of value that Jones sometimes talks about.
How proven is Ealy?
Well, his 14.0 sacks after three seasons indicate that he may never come close to that total of 100.5 that Haley did. Nonetheless, career sack totals aren’t exactly what should concern the Cowboys right now. Putting New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning on his back several times come Week 1 of the regular season should be.
Ealy would be a nice replacement for players like Irving and Moore, who will both miss this particular regular season opener in Arlington. He’d make a nice addition to players like Benson Mayowa and DeMarcus Lawrence, neither of which are likely to take over this football game – or the next one up in the paper-thin air of Denver against the Broncos on Week 2.
For Rod Marinelli’s 4-3 front, it’s all about numbers up front and the defensive tackle rotation should be better than it was last season. That defensive end position is a completely different story, and this is why kicking the tires really hard on Ealy is a great idea. At 6’4” and 275-pounds, this former stud from Mizzou would bring another big bodied defender up front to help discourage a Giants offense that has looked almost pathetic this preseason.
In politics, they call it an October surprise, but for the Dallas Cowboys another August surprise might be in order and the climate here suggests that it could make a huge difference in very short order.