NFL.com has listed the top ten players that they think could be traded sometime during the remainder of this offseason. There is no indication whatsoever that the article is anything more than speculation, and it's debatable whether what we have there is even informed speculation.
Be that as it may, it's common knowledge that an article about trade rumors isn't worth its weight in hot air if it doesn't link at least one player to the Dallas Cowboys, preferably two - and that's exactly what we get from Chris Wesseling as he lists the top ten summertime trade candidates and their potential destinations.
At No. 2 on his list is Ryan Mallett, and Wesseling writes that Mallett could be a target for the Texans and Cowboys.
Mallett has been connected to the Texans and former offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien since early March, with speculation growing especially feverish during draft weekend. Patriots coach Bill Belichick recently insisted he's not that interested in dealing Mallett, which is another way of inviting prospective suitors to raise their offers. If second-round pick Jimmy Garoppolo looks ready for prime time in training camp, a Mallett trade remains possible.
Mallett has been on the market for a while now. Reports surfaced over a year ago that the Patriots were demanding a first- or second-round pick for Mallett, who was a third-round pick in 2011. Given that the Patriots invested a second-round pick this year in QB Jimmy Garoppolo this year, it's unlikely that the Patriots are still convinced that Mallett has the stuff the be the eventual replacement for Tom Brady.
Teams trading for former Patriots players do not have a track record of success in those trades. The Cowboys would be well advised not to get into this discussion, and leave Mallett to some newbie GM who thinks that trading with the Patriots can somehow enhance his own status in the league.
The other player on the list is RB LaMichael James, who is linked to the Eagles and Cowboys.
Left out of the 49ers' running back rotation even before the arrivals of Carlos Hyde and a relatively healthy Marcus Lattimore, James has seemingly been on the trading block for a year now. We suspect he hasn't been moved because no team is willing to part with a mid- to late-round draft pick for an underwhelming scatback. He did star at Oregon under Eagles coach Chip Kelly.
LaMichael James is a former second-round pick, who has rushed for 189 yards in 39 rushing attempts over two years. The Cowboys just signed Ryan Williams, also a former second-round pick, who rushed for 164 yards on 58 attempts in three years in the league.
In April, there were reports that James was on the trading block, and rumors of an immenent departure were further fueled when James opted to pass up a $50,000 workout bonus that would have been due had he attended the start of the 49ers offseason program. James could be rranked as low as No. 5 on the 49ers depth chart and will almost certainly be released at some point before the season starts. At this point, the maximum a team should invest in James is a waiver wire claim.
Just like they've done in past years, the Cowboys will likely look to improve their roster throughout the offseason. And while a trade is not out of the question at some point (see C Ryan Cook, 2012) , the waiver wire (see WR Laurent Robinson, 2011) and street free agency (DE George Selvie, 2013) have been equally viable offseason options for the Cowboys.
What, if anything, would you be willing to give up for Mallett and/or James?