Projected Cowboys player to be traded makes absolutely zero sense

Why would the Cowboys ever do this?
Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants
Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

Much to the chagrin of fans, the Dallas Cowboys rarely initiate trades. That's why last year's acquisitions of Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore came as a surprise. While most teams would consider that the status quo in terms of improving a roster, it was Jerry Jones' version of going all-in.

Urged to make similar moves this offseason, the Cowboys have sat on their hands. The Joneses attributed that to the salary cap. It's a bogus excuse; one that fans in Dallas are all too familiar with.

There's still time for the Cowboys to explore trades and sign veteran free agents (Calais Campbell, come on down). With grizzled vets Zack Martin and DeMarcus Lawrence entering potentially their final season with the team, one would think the front office would have more urgency.

Parting with future draft picks is a fair price to pay for win-now talent, but some think the Cowboys should trade a young asset who seemingly has a bright future in Dallas.

Bleacher Report's Gary Davenport listed one player that all 32 teams should consider trading and landed on safety Markquese Bell as someone to watch for Dallas. In the simplest of terms, ttrading Bell would be a huge mistake.

The Cowboys would be foolish to trade safety Markquese Bell

"Even with Jayron Kearse gone, Dallas still has a pair of established starters in Donovan Wilson and Malik Hooker. There may not be a clear path to significant playing time for Bell with the Cowboys. But there are several NFL teams that could have a use for Bell's versatility as a "hybrid" player—including former Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who is now the head coach for the Washington Commanders.

Veteran wide receiver Brandin Cooks could be another possibility here, but trading the NFL's most-traded player ever (well, tied for that rather odd "honor") would leave Dallas thin at wideout behind CeeDee Lamb. Bell's departure wouldn't create nearly as many problems."

Dealing Bell obviously wouldn't create as many problems as trading Brandin Cooks, but it still wouldn't make a shred of sense. Bell was the Cowboys' best linebacker in 2023 despite converting from safety mid-season after Leighton Vander Esch's neck injury.

Bell's 94 tackles were second-most on the team and his 76.0 defense grade was sixth-highest among defenders who played at least 500 snaps, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Bell was also outstanding in coverage, which speaks to his potential at his natural safety position. His 83.5 coverage grade trailed only DaRon Bland for highest mark among Dallas' defensive starters.

The Cowboys have starting safeties Malik Hooker and Donovan Wilson signed through the 2025 season, but it's worth noting that Wilson will turn 30 next February. Hooker will turn 29 in April.

Hooker has emerged as Dallas' most reliable safety. He's also cheaper than Wilson. It stands to reason that Hooker will play out the remainder of his contract. The Cowboys could save $7 million if they cut Wilson next March with a post-June 1 designation. They'd incur just $1.165 million in dead money. Conversely, they'd save $5.75 million by cutting Hooker and take on $2 million in dead money.

Regardless if Dallas moves on from one of Hooker or Wilson in 2025, trading Bell would be a mistake. The fact he was so effective in his first year in a new position is a testament to his potential. With Kearse gone, Bell will have a role to play this season behind Hooker and Wilson. He and Juanyeh Thomas are the future at safety for the Cowboys.

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