2024 compensatory pick projections give Cowboys ammo to make another big trade

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Commanders
Dallas Cowboys v Washington Commanders / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

There's a large contingent of Dallas Cowboys fans that want the team to go all-in on the 2024 campaign. Crashing out of the playoffs in wild card round as the No. 2 seed alone should incentivize the front office to push their chips to the middle of the table.

Throw in the fact that Dak Prescott's leash as the franchise QB is shorter than ever, and that Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and DeMarcus Lawrence are nearing their mid-30s, and it's easy to argue why the Cowboys should go all-in.

That'll be easier said that done. The salary cap situation will be murky until Prescott's contract extension is resolved. Assuming it gets done before the new league year in mid-March, Dallas should have the financial means to make notable signings in free agency.

Could they potentially re-enter the trade market after they struck cost-effective deals for veterans Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore last year? If the latest 2024 comp pick projections are accurate, the Cowboys will have close to a full complement of selections for April's draft.

How many compensatory picks will the Cowboys receive in 2024?

The Cowboys are expected to receive a 2024 fifth-round pick for losing offensive lineman Connor McGovern and a 2024 sixth-round pick for losing tight end Dalton Schultz in free agency. This gives Dallas seven total selections in the upcoming draft -- a first-rounder, second, third, fifth, sixth, and two sevenths.

Their fourth-round pick was dealt to the 49ers for Trey Lance. Their original fifth-round pick was traded to the Chiefs during last year's draft when Dallas moved up to No. 178 overall for the rights to draft cornerback Eric Scott. Jr.

That's what makes the Cowboys' expected comp pick haul so important. All it took to acquire Gilmore was a 2023 fifth-round pick. All it took to pry Cooks from Houston was a fifth-round pick in 2023 and a sixth-round pick in 2024.

The comp picks give Dallas flexibility. They have their full allotment of 2025 picks, so they could package a 2024 and 2025 pick in a trade, similar to the Cooks deal. Both the Cooks and Gilmore trades came out of nowhere, but make no mistake: teams are always looking to shop veterans on affordable contracts for draft equity.

Another reason the Cowboys should float these comp picks as trade bait? Their 2023 draft class consisted of nothing but swings and misses. In fact, no team got less from their rookie class than Dallas, according to ESPN.

The Cowboys have an excellent drafting history, but what would adding seven more rookies do for this win-now roster? There's nothing wrong with keeping the first three picks. We wouldn't sneeze at adding blue chip prospects to the mix, but the comp picks give Dallas the requisite ammo to make more trades.

Think about where this team would've been if not for Cooks and Gilmore.

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