Dallas Cowboys fans were collectively refreshing Twitter every couple seconds after former NFL general manager-turned insider Michael Lombardi reported the team was “about ready to make a trade for a corner.”
It took minutes for a deal to come fruition, as the Cowboys acquired Stephon Gilmore from the Colts for a 2023 fifth-round compensatory pick.
While Gilmore is no longer in his prime, he filled the No. 1 cornerback role for Indianapolis last season, and still played the part of a lockdown defender.
The Defensive Player of the Year in 2019, Gilmore will team up with Pro Bowler Trevon Diggs at cornerback, and joins what has quickly become a stacked Cowboys secondary after the team re-signed safety Donovan Wilson on Day 2 of the legal tampering period.
The Cowboys have traded for Colts cornerback Stephon Gilmore
You can make the argument that Dallas now boasts two No. 1 cornerbacks. In 2022, Gilmore posted a 92nd percentile coverage grade (81.1), 93rd percentile coverage grade in single coverage, and 98th percentile (!) coverage grade in the slot, according to Marcus Mosher of Pro Football Focus.
Further, Gilmore allowed a 63.4 completion rate when targeted, an 82.6 passer rating, and just two touchdowns and 11.2 yards per reception, per PFF. He intercepted two passes, added 11 passes defended in coverage, and had a knack for showing up in the clutch.
Gilmore hasn’t generated the same number of turnovers as he did in his prime, but he’s still as good as they come at 32 years old.
This is a fantastic trade for the Cowboys both in terms of trade compensation, and the simple fact they acquired one of the best players of his generation (at his position). A CB2 was one of the biggest needs this offseason, and they filled it in spades.
Who needs the draft when you can trade a comp pick for Stephon freaking Gilmore?
Now, DaRon Bland can continue developing in the slot, and Israel Mukuamu can continue taking more reps at corner after he showed out in the playoff win over the Buccaneers. As for Jourdan Lewis, this trade might make him expendable, but it couldn’t hurt keeping him around if the money lines up given Gilmore’s pre-2022 injury troubles.
We’ll cross that bridge if and when the time comes, though. For now, the Cowboys front office deserves its flowers.
Imagine saying that on Day 2 of the legal tampering period?