Can the Dallas Cowboys take advantage from the fallout?
By Angel Torres
I have to admit that I let out a sigh of relief to watch the off-field drama that is unfolding around the NFL and it does not include the Dallas Cowboys. The Las Vegas Raiders have inexplicably been dealt a blow because of an investigation involving a Cowboys division rival.
Confusing, to say the least, but the message current Raiders general manager and former NFL network talking head Mike Mayock has pushed is the Raiders still have goals in this NFL season.
His statement was meant to condemn the act but also to keep his team from imploding. After speaking to a few close friends who follow the Raiders as religiously as I follow the Cowboys, I have to think the locker room might already be fractured.
The remarks made by the former Raiders head coach were indeed despicable but the owner allowing his former head coach to continue to coach men who were affected by the disparaging remarks he made should have never happened. I am in the belief that the Raiders waited too long to remove their head coach.
The Dallas Cowboys could be in the trade market with the Las Vegas Raiders
Their play on Sunday only strengthens my point. I also think that the Raider’s rumored money flow issues had a part in not firing Gruden as opposed to waiting for him to resign. Imagine your boss secretly telling other people they hate something about you only to turn around and ride your efforts to advance their career or legacy. Then his boss finds out and waits to do something.
The Raiders even granted defensive end Carl Nassib a day off to deal with the mixture of feelings he is probably dealing with right now. I hate to be a circling vulture but that is exactly the type of headline that should give every GM in the NFL the green light to pounce.
The Raiders started the season 3-0 before losing their last two games. Their latest loss came to a Bears team who might have caught the Raiders at the right time. If the Raiders lose to their hated division rival Broncos in Denver this Sunday, a small fire sale could ensue. The flames could get bigger if players start to check out.
It appears as if those strong Autumn winds could come to a stretching halt. My Raider friends believe that Mike Mayock played second fiddle when constructing this team and with Jon Gruden finally out, Mayock can hire the head coach he wants. More importantly, he can construct the roster he wants without approval.
So if the Raiders are on the brink of changing things up or are approached by players who do not want to be associated with a franchise who allowed their team to continue to employ a man who sent several questionable emails, then the Cowboys have to be players.
I originally believed that Raiders backup center Nick Martin would be a good addition to the Cowboys as he gets to reunite with his All-Pro brother Zack Martin. I continue to believe that he could be a target but the Raiders do have some intriguing pieces that could be available.
This offseason, I wanted the Cowboys to go after free agent cornerback Casey Hayward yet he signed a one-year deal with the Raiders. This unusual first season in Las Vegas could prompt the veteran corner to leave in free agency without giving the Raiders a chance to really retain his services.
If he is going to be a loss anyway, the Raiders could see what they could get for him and the Cowboys do have a spot available. Opinions vary over Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown but he does not compare to the season Hayward is having.
PFF awarded Hayward with an 86.3 grade which is higher than both Trevon Diggs (66.9) and Anthony Brown (77.8). As surprising as those grades might be to you, there is no doubt Hayward would be a big contributor to this Dallas defense.
Defensive end Carl Nassib could also be dealt but his salary makes him difficult to move. The Cowboys are already going to have a deep rotation on the defensive line once everyone gets healthy so adding a known name with a big salary is something the team should pass on.
Clelin Ferrell was taken by the Raiders fourth overall in the 2019 NFL draft but his first-round salary makes me feel like this should be a pass also. Ferrell has a salary-cap number of$8.5 million and jumps to almost $10 million next season.
Safety Johnathan Abram would make for a great storyline and his athleticism could be intriguing under Dan Quinn but I doubt the Raiders would send the player they picked for wideout Amari Cooper. It would be another P.R nightmare for a team that needs less attention.
Defensive tackle Soloman Thomas, wide receiver Zay Jones, linebacker Denzel Perryman, and cornerback Trayvon Mullen could all be options as well. Mayock appears to favor players who played at Clemson so Mullen’s price might be higher than it should.
The biggest name of the bunch could involve a former second overall pick. Backup quarterback Marcus Mariota was brought on board because of Gruden so trading him might be a statement. The Cowboys could use a veteran backup with experience so that is a name I am interested in seeing come up in trade rumors. Mariota’s $3.5 million base salary is very appealing but he is only under contract for this season.
Some of you might be asking what type of compensation would the Raiders be looking for so the natural storyline would be reuniting Cowboys defensive tackle Trysten Hill with former Cowboys coordinator Rod Marinelli.
Unfortunately, Hill remains on Injured Reserve and it has now been over a year since his injury occurred. His situation remains unclear if he is going to be ready anytime soon. NFL teams can trade players off of injured reserve if they made the original 53 man roster.
Trysten Hill never came off of the PUP list meaning he cannot be traded this season until after he returns to the active roster. He also has to stay on PUP for the first six weeks of the season meaning he can’t be activated until the day after Dallas plays New England.
With the bye week next weekend, Dallas would have a small window to trade Hill and have an extra week to prepare any possible new faces. The NFL trade deadline is November 2nd or two days after Halloween.
There has been a steady pipeline of Cowboys players and coaches that have gone from former Cowboy to current Raider. IF the Raiders become sellers at the deadline, the Cowboys should try and reverse that trend.