In all facets of life, leverage plays a huge role in decision making. An example of this in sports is the contract negotiations between the New York Jets and Ryan Fitzpatrick. After seeing the money Brock Osweiler received, all of the leverage went to Fitzpatrick's side as it was a quarterback market. But as the market dried up and the two sides couldn't agree upon a deal, the Jets drafted Christian Hackenberg in the second round, moving some of the leverage to the Jets.
Leverage is huge and if the cards aren't in your favor, it doesn't normally go well, especially in professional sports where business usually comes first . Ronald Leary is a player that has proved himself in the NFL. He signed on with the Dallas Cowboys after the 2012 NFL Draft. He went undrafted due to his serious knee condition known as osteochondritis dissecans.
Dallas had a third-round grade on Leary and he was a splash signing in that undrafted free agency period. He became the full-time starter at left guard towards the end of the 2013 season and held onto the gig before a groin injury opened the door for talented rookie La'el Collins to take over the job. Collins never looked back and performed extremely well towards the end of the season.
A few days ago, Leary made a trade request. But the question remains, "what leverage does he have, if any at all?" Looking at the offensive line, the Cowboys have three superstars and one in Collins who will likely get to that level one day, perhaps even this upcoming season. At right tackle, Doug Free seems to be the starter now, but Chaz Green could very well take over the job as well.
With how consistent the Cowboys' line is, there is no reason for the Cowboys to keep a player at each position for depth purposes. Instead, the Cowboys like to carry around eight offensive lineman, three backups who can play a variety of positions as well as the swing tackle role. That's where Leary comes into the equation.
Leary can play each of the guard positions. And while a majority of his time at the collegiate level came at the tackle spots, Leary's best fit in the NFL comes at either the left or right guard position. With Leary's ability to consistently perform at the NFL level, it makes no sense for the Cowboys to trade him for something that doesn't bring much in return. Stephen Jones has had this to say about the idea of trading Leary:
"We've had calls on him, yeah," [Stephen] Jones said. "If we needed to do something today, we could have."
"Obviously, he'd like to start somewhere, and I don't blame him for that," Jones said. "I think he's a starting-caliber offensive guard in this league."
"As the draft goes, if the right situation presented itself - we think the world of Ron," he said. "If we got what we thought was fair, and Ron thought he was getting a chance to be a starter - which, I think he is a starting-caliber guard. If it worked out for both of us, we'd like to help him out - and help us out."
But the reality is that guards are not in high demand in the NFL, especially ones that have serious knee injuries. Dallas has some nice backup linemen not named Leary. Joe Looney, Chaz Green and Charles Brown are guys that could end up on the active roster, but having Leary is vital because he's been a consistent starter in this league and a quality one at that.
At 27 years old, Leary is entering the prime of his career and there are many teams in the NFL that would be glad to have his talent on their roster. But under contract for another season, the Cowboys aren't going to give him up for pocket cash. For Dallas to trade Leary away, it will need to be a trade that greatly favors the Cowboys' end.
Because of how comfortable they are with their current cast of offensive lineman on the roster, the Cowboys have no problem sticking with Leary for another year and letting him walk in free agency at the end of the year. I believe Leary will stay put for the entirety of the season.