When should the Dallas Cowboys consider trading an aging star?

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 14: Tyron Smith #77 of the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on October 14, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 14: Tyron Smith #77 of the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on October 14, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Moving on from a player that has been a franchise player is difficult. The Dallas Cowboys have often waited too long to say farewell to former stars.

For a long time, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones could be faulted for being too loyal to his stars. Jones would often hold on to a player that was showing signs of decline.

Of late, we have seen a more calculating Front Office. The Cowboys decided to cut former wide receiver Dez Bryant when it became clear that his contract was worth more than his on-field production.

News broke on Wednesday from Jason La Confora that Washington Redskins’ seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle, Trent Williams, was unhappy over the way the team handled a serious medical situation that he had this offseason. Williams has demanded a trade or release.

Washington might be forced to make a move on Williams. Could it be a good for the team in the long run? Moving a declining player and capturing draft pick value makes sense. The problem for Washington is that they don’t have anyone who can replace Williams. I am sure Cowboys fans wouldn’t mind seeing former New York Giant Ereck Flowers give it a go.

So this got me thinking. All signs point to the Cowboys letting right tackle La’el Collins test the free agent market at the end of the 2019 season. Could Dallas look to re-sign Collins and instead explore a market for All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith?

Pro Football Focus ranked Smith the 21st overall offensive lineman in 2018 noting that injuries have taken their toll on him over the past few years. Certainly Smith’s market will be limited if he has another injury riddled season but what if he stays healthy in 2019?

Would you consider trading Smith before the next draft? Quality offensive linemen are difficult to develop and when you have one that could some day wear a gold jacket, could you make the move?

The answer needs to consider two parts. First, what would it cost to re-sign Collins. Second, what could you get for Smith?

No way should the Cowboys consider signing Collins as the highest offensive lineman on the team. The Oakland Raiders spent crazy money this offseason to lure Trent Brown from New England. Brown must have been a happy man when he received his four-year $66 million contract.

Certainly, Collins took note of this contract and he would have reason to benchmark his value at the same level. Pro Football Focus ranked Trent Brown as the 32nd overall tackle in 2018 with a score of 71.0. La’el ranked as the 31st tackle with a score of 71.1.

It should be a non-starter for the Cowboys to pay Collins more than Zack Martin. Paying lessor players more money than better players only creates problems. Should Collins want more than Martin, then Dallas should let him walk and take the 2021 third round compensatory pick.

Assuming Smith has a healthy season, I would advocate that it would be an easy decision to trade if any team offered a first-round pick. If the pick is in the third-round then the answer would be no.

The Houston Texans received a second round and third round pick in exchange for offensive left tackle Duane Brown and a fifth-round pick. Duane Brown, who is five years older than Smith, graded out as Pro Football Focus 5th best tackle in 2018 with a score of 82.3. Smith was the ninth rated tackle with a score of 80.1.

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Could the Dallas Cowboys consider such a move next offseason? Would it be a major surprise? Would it be a positive sign that the Front Office is extracting value from declining players? What would it take for you to make this deal?

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