ESPN gets Cowboys fans hopes up by pushing wild DeAndre Hopkins-Dalvin Cook narrative

Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) celebrates
Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) celebrates / Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Though we've reached the dog days of the NFL offseason, fans are patiently waiting for two significant free agent dominos to fall. Sadly, the Dallas Cowboys may be done shopping after their most agressive offseason in years.

While certain analysts didn't love Dallas' offseason, the trades for Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore should help the team get over the hump in the playoffs. It might not result in a Super Bowl, but the Cowboys undoubtedly have better odds to make a deep run with the two veterans on board.

While the Cowboys' roster is in a great spot overall, fans still would like the front office to make another win-now move.

Signing one of DeAndre Hopkins or Dalvin Cook -- the two aforementioned dominos -- certainly would fill that bill. It seems unlikely given the recent comments made by Jerry Jones and Mike McCarthy, but that's not stopping ESPN from postulating that Hopkins and Cooks could join forces in Dallas.

This segment on "Get Up" posed that exact question.

ESPN thinks Cowboys will sign DeAndre Hopkins and Dalvin Cook

The Cowboys signing one of Hopkins or Cooks feels unlikely, but both players? The news cycle admittedly is slow right now, but this falls under the lines of feeding the audience -- Cowboys fans in particular -- with false hope.

We've addressed this before, but Hopkins isn't going to Dallas. The team has preached confidence in its receiver room. Acquiring Cooks ruined any chance of a Hopkins pursuit, and the coaching staff is pleased with Michael Gallup's health and development of 2022 third-round pick Jalen Tolbert this offseason.

Incredibly, ESPN pushed the Hopkins-Cook narrative on "NFL Live" Tuesday when newly-retired cornerback Joe Haden said he could see the coveted free agents teaming up on the Cowboys ... as long as Dallas "gets Michael Gallup out of there."

While Haden is correct in his assessment of the Cowboys' cap situation, offloading Gallup isn't possible. The front office restructured Gallup's contract this offseason -- a move that fans didn't agree with -- which derailed any chance of getting off his deal before next year.

If Dallas was to cut Gallup, they'd save just $823,000 while inheriting $5.95 million in dead money. Trading Gallup would save $10.626 million while creating $17.4 million in dead money. 2024 is the earliest possible time the Cowboys could stomach moving off Gallup.

As for Dalvin Cook, the Cowboys made it clear by cutting Ezekiel Elliot that they don't want to roster two $10 million running backs. Tony Pollard's franchise tag is worth $10.1 million. Though an extension would lower Pollard's 2023 cap hit, they'd more likely pursue a cheaper option to maintain cap flexibility.

We understand that linking Cowboys with high-profile free agents moves the needle, but ESPN is wasting its time talking about this.

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