You asked, we answer. KD has opened up the BTB mailbag to questions from the community. Some of the answers will be short, but I felt a full post was warranted in answering Rev. Trueblue's question: "A lot of people on here are in favor of trade down scenarios this year. My question to you would be... Who are the likeliest teams that we would strike a deal with and what do you think we could get from them?"
Of course, the big challenge is finding a trading partner that wants the Cowboys’ pick at 18, and that has something of value to offer Dallas. The goal for the Cowboys should be to maximize picks in the top three rounds, where there does seem to be a lot of talent this year. I look for teams that have some extra picks later on they might be willing to part with, because I don't see many teams that would give up an RGIII type deal for Dallas' spot in the first round. Just to establish an example, I looked at a team like the New York Jets, and what it would cost them to get Dallas' pick in the first. According to the draft value calculator at Calculator Soup, they could give up everything but their first and seventh round pick, and still not equal the value of 18 overall. Using future draft picks would be even more costly in the long run. So my focus is on teams that would still have some reasonable picks left after coming up with a package to trade to the Cowboys.
I've already written a post on trading out of the first to add picks in the second where I laid out a trade with Cincinnati that got the Cowboys two additional second round picks plus one in the sixth. Another possibility if the team is willing to move out of the first: The Miami Dolphins. They could trade Dallas picks 42, 54 and 108, with the Cowboys only having to give up a sixth-rounder. That's two extra seconds and a fourth. Dallas would then have seven picks overall, with six in the second through fourth rounds. Miami would not have a second or a fourth round pick, but would still have two in the third, a fifth and two in the seventh, including the pick Dallas traded them for Ryan Cook. From the standpoint of value, it is not a bad deal. The question is if there is any reason for the Dolphins to go along with this.
Not everyone is in favor of moving completely out of the first round. If you are looking to keep a first round pick, that means you look at the teams set at the moment to pick after Dallas.
One team stood out because they are well stocked this year. The 49ers have an extra third round pick. If they want to move up from the end of the first round to the middle, they could offer Dallas their 31, plus picks 74 and 93 in exchange for 18 and Dallas’ fourth round pick, 144 overall. Using the draft value calculator, this works out to a value of 948 to 934, with San Francisco getting the small disadvantage. Dallas now would have three picks in the third round, where it looks like there would be some good value still to be had. The question is whether the Niners would be interested in trading. But they have stockpiled picks this year – they have extra picks in the third, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds already, and may be open to doing some trading.
Not many teams are in the position of SF, of course. And this year is not one where it looks like a lot of teams will be looking to make big trades. What is more likely is if one of the teams behind Dallas in the first round is looking for a player that is available when Dallas goes on the clock, but that they fear will not make it to them. Suppose this happened to Cincinnati. The Bengals sit at 21, and swapping first round picks, plus offering Dallas the extra second round pick they have, 37 overall, for the Cowboys’ pick 47 in the second gets the Cowboys a lot better second round pick for a minor step back in the first. With the way the talent looks to extend fairly deep this year, that might be a good move. Dallas loses out on three possible choices in the first, and gets an opportunity to consider an additional eighteen players that would be gone in the second.
There is even more opportunity if some teams further back are looking at a particular name. The Vikings sit at 23. If they want to move up five spots, they could swap 23 and their third round pick, 83, for the Cowboys' 18 and 144 to get Dallas to move back. That is a tiny loss to Minneapolis according to the calculator (1 point), but they might give up a little if their pet cat is at risk of going to someone else. Just three places further back are the Green Bay Packers. When division rivals are in this kind of situation, there is an extra incentive if they happen to be looking at the same players. If the Pack wanted to jump ahead of Minnesota, they could offer Dallas their first (26), third (88) and fourth (119) round picks to get to 18.
All these options are centered around the Cowboys' first round pick. Similar scenarios could be constructed for the second or third round, but the gain there does not seem worth the effort. It is trading that first round choice that would allow the team to get players good enough to help somewhere besides special teams. Here's a summary of the trades described above:
First and second: Cincinnati 21+ 37 (1,330) for Dallas 18 + 47 (1,330)
Two seconds: Cincinnati 37 + 53 + 180 (920.4) for Dallas 18 + 175 (922.4) or Miami 42 + 54 + 108 (918) for Dallas 18 + 175 (922.4)
First and two thirds: San Francisco 31 + 74 + 93 (948) for Dallas 18 + 144 (934)
First and third: Green Bay 26 + 88 + 119 (908) for Dallas 18 (900) or Minnesota 23 + 83 (935) for Dallas 18 + 144 (934)
Almost any team drafting later than the Cowboys on the first day could likely come up with some package that might be worthwhile. That is the most likely scenario that we would see. The problem is going to be finding a partner for this dance. If second and third round picks are particularly valuable this year for Dallas, then they are probably just as valuable for anyone else. That's why I was so interested in teams that have extra picks, because they might be a bit more willing to part with some.
I am in favor of trading back if the team can get an extra second or even a third round pick this year. I just am not sure a partner is going to present itself.