The 2017 trade deadline came and went for the Dallas Cowboys without a move to improve the team. Will they regret staying quiet?
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones declared prior to the 3:00 p.m. (CT) trade deadline that his team could be in pursuit of a playmaker following Ezekiel Elliott’s denied suspension appeal. The Cowboys instead chose to stay pat at the deadline, believing they could weather storm of Elliott’s six-game suspension with their incumbent roster.
Jones and the Cowboys were allegedly in the market for a replacement running back, with former starting halfback DeMarco Murray possibly in the mix. However, it looks like Dallas is going to roll with the trio of Alfred Morris, Rod Smith and Darren McFadden as they wait for Elliott to return from his suspension. But it’s fair to wonder whether or not Dallas made a mistake by not making a move at the deadline.
That’s not to say they necessarily had to acquire a running back.
The loss of Elliott affects far more than just the Cowboys run game–it affects their entire gameplan in general.
For starters, on offense, it puts a much bigger burden on Dak Prescott to carry the load. Perhaps the Cowboys could have pursued a receiver to help ease some of that added weight on their second-year quarterback’s shoulders.
Prescott’s skill position players have underwhelmed so far this season, with Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, and even Terrance Williams having down years, by each of their respective standards. For the right price, a guy like Miami Dolphins wide out Jarvis Landry could have been a nice addition for the Cowboys’ club. And unlike trading for a running back, any receiver they would have acquired would continue to see snaps upon Elliott’s reinstatement.
Another area Elliott’s suspension affects is the defense. The Cowboys have finally found a consistent pass-rush, largely in part to the Cowboy’s offense keeping them fresh throughout the course of games. Without Elliott churning down the clock, the Cowboys’ defense will need to prove they have the stamina to remain staunch on additional snaps.
While any acquisition on the defensive line could be deemed superfluous, the defensive backfield seems like it could have been a candidate for an upgrade. Somebody like Indianapolis Colts’ cornerback Vontae Davis, or Tampa Bay Buccneer’s safety T.J. Ward could have provided upside for the Cowboy back-end.
The Dallas Cowboys will simply roll with what they have, and that could very well be enough. However, if they do struggle in Ezekiel Elliott’s absence, it’s fair to question whether or not they should’ve made more calls on one of the busiest trade deadlines in recent memory.