The new NFL year begins March 5th, and with it comes free agency. Just as interesting is the possibility of baseball-like, hot-stove league trades. What I'm calling sun-deck league trades, since it's March, thought it may still feel like winter where you are.
By sun-deck I mean the type of deals you almost never see anymore in pro football: straight player-for-player deals. We got a hint of this recently when the story broke from San Diego that the Chargers had approached Dallas about a deal centered around CB Antonio Cromartie and RB Tashard Choice. The discussions apparently went no further than a Chargers proposal, but this doesn't seem like the first time the Cowboys have fielded an offer for one of their young talents in the six months.
Here's a quote from Jerry Jones after the October trading deadline, explaining, in his inimitable Jerry-ese, that he turned down a "significant" trade offer. See if your interpretation matches mine:
"We could have probably made a 'now' impact and just bolstered a position, and significantly, and obviously we would have had a takeaway since it's a young player for the future," Jones said. "By the same token, and I'm talking about the type of consideration, first- or second-round type consideration, but the bottom line is this: Had I not thought that we needed that player right now as opposed to pushing forward in consideration for picks in the future, then I would have taken the pick option on it rather than the player."
-- Source: Bengals Wanted Bennett, ESPNDallas.com, 10/22/'09
I've read this quote several times and am still not sure I have it down. As far as I can tell:
-- Dallas fielded a proposal, apparently for tight end Martellus Bennett, that would have brought either
- an established player, the " 'now' impact that bolstered a position," or
- either a 1st or 2nd round pick, or a combination of picks.
As with Choice, the Cowboys declined to pursue the deal.
Which brings us back to Jerry's 10-11-New-Cowboys-this-year comment. Let's play a hypothetical. (And this is purely hypothetical. Grizz thinks I'm nuts pushing this, but hey, I'm sick of reading about 40 times and bench press results.) Let's say the Bengals come back with the same deal. They still need a TE. Nearly every mock I read puts a TE in their first round basket. Top TE Jermaine Grisham, the player most linked with them, had sub par workouts this weekend.
If the deal is again "significant," in Jerry speak, do you consider it now? The Cowboys do have some surplus at some spots. Do you consider any possible deals for youngsters like Orlando Scandrick, Choice or Bennett? If so, would you demand those seemingly unattainable draft picks in return, or try to land a young safety or offensive lineman in return? (Remember, restricted free agents cannot be traded. Teams that look to trade will want young players under contract, the type the Cowboys landed in quantity and quality in '08. Know also that Dallas is scouting RBs and TEs, even though it is three-deep at each spot.)
Or, do you again say no to any deal for a youngster, as the Cowboys have in recent months? Is there any level of pick, or any player, who would make you change your mind?