The NFL trade deadline is unlike its brethren in basketball and baseball. Those deadlines are very active with fevered anticipation in the build up followed by tons of “grades” and “who won, who lost” articles afterward. The NFL’s version, on the other hand, sometimes passes by with barely a peep. That may be the case again this year, but we decided to propose some possible trades for the Cowboys anyway.
My take: My own personal trade proposal seems to be a popular one - cornerback Vontae Davis from the Colts. The Cowboys are one injury away from being in trouble at the cornerback position. You could say that about a lot of positions, but in today’s pass-happy NFL, if you can’t cover receivers you’re doomed. The trio of veteran Orlando Scandrick, second-year player Anthony Brown, and rookie Jourdan Lewis give Dallas a quality set. But behind them is trouble. Second-round pick Chidobe Awuzie can’t stay healthy, Bene Benwikere is not someone you want to rely on, and practice-squadder Marquez White is an unknown quantity. With the problems the Cowboys have at safety, the team doesn’t need to be moving Byron Jones over to corner to cover for an injury, and Xavier Woods shouldn’t be the stop-gap either, he should be playing for Jeff Heath.
The Colts are done for this year, and they need a rebuild. Vontae Davis is 29-years-old and in the final year of his contract. It’s unlikely the Colts will re-sign him. They could at least get something for him on the way out, the only issue is to take a sure-thing in a trade, or wait to see what they would get through a compensatory pick. The Colts would likely be able to get a fifth-round pick if they wait, that would be a contract for Davis by another team in the $5-7 million per year range. A fourth-round pick would mean a $7-9 million per year contract.
Others on the Davis train:
DannyPhanton: I would look into acquiring cornerback Vontae Davis from the Indianapolis Colts. With the Nolan Carroll experiment failing and Chidobe Awuzie ailing, the Cowboys find themselves a little lean at the position. The goal is to have a young group take over and they've relied heavily on Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown, but a veteran presence would certainly help give them depth. Davis is in the last year of his contract so maybe his services wouldn't required too much draft capital. The Cowboys need to shore up the secondary if they are to make a deep playoff run this season.
With Andrew Luck suffering a setback last week, it’s looking like the Colts’ season is over before it even started. Davis’ contracts expires in the offseason and it’s unlikely the Colts will want to resign him. The question is whether the package Indy would get in return would be more valuable than the compensatory pick it would get by letting him walk in free agency.
With the Colts' season on life support, first-year general manager Chris Ballard has enough power inside the building to make moves aimed at future team-building efforts. When healthy, Davis has been a valuable member of an up-and-down defense, but his contract is up after this season and a long-term deal in Indy feels unlikely for the 29-year-old defender.
POTENTIAL LANDING SPOT: Dallas Cowboys
Dallas eternally sees itself as a Super Bowl contender, something the 'Boys might be if Ezekiel Elliott's potential suspension doesn't derail the team's chances in 2017. Their defense could use help, though, making Davis a potential target for a unit that could use additional depth down the stretch.
Potential trades for players not named Vontae Davis
Cole Patterson: It almost has to be defense. If you asked me maybe a week ago, I might have said Martavius Bryant; but I'm not sure how much he moves the needle, and he doesn't appear to be a great locker room guy from the outside. So, I think it would either be linebacker or defensive back. Are there are any quality linebackers on the market that have can make an impact for this tea? If not, I go with a corner.
An option would be Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. DRC is on a team who isn't going anywhere this season. Plus, he has butted heads with McAdoo. Would the Giants trade him to a divisional opponent? A fifth-round draft pick would be the highest I would personally want to give up.
VAfan: According to Pro Football Focus (not the most reliable source), the lowest graded starter on the Cowboys is Jaylon Smith, with a 43.9 grade. But with the return of Anthony Hitchens and Sean Lee, Smith is no longer a starter, and he still has a growth curve heading up. The next lowest starter is Jeff Heath, at 46.7. He's the player I would most want to replace if I were the Cowboys looking on the trading block. Xavier Woods might be a nice player at some point, but he's not ready to be a starting safety on a team seeking a championship. Chidobe Awuzie might also be played at safety, but he can't get on the field.
The highest rated safety by PFF on a team suddenly going nowhere is Tyvon Branch of the Arizona Cardinals. (Without Carson Palmer, Arizona must know it has no chance.) He's ranked fourth in the NFL at 89.1, with equally strong coverage and run defense grades. Since 2011, he's consistently ranked in the high 70's, so he's not a one-year wonder. He's on the last year of a modest two-year contract. Branch is a 10-year veteran who's 30 years old. He'll be an unrestricted free agent next year. He's the player I would target if I were the Cowboys.
Unfortunately, the Cowboys have already wasted draft capital by trading for Ben Benwikere, who will now cost them a sixth-rounder. That both wastes the pick, and establishes that Dallas will overpay in trades. Arizona is unlikely to take that level of compensation for Branch. A fifth-rounder would be more painful, but I would do it to shore up the weakest link in the Cowboys defense.
OCC: The Cowboys showed a clear interest in upgrading their linebacker corps when they tried to get Navorro Bowman to Dallas. That move didn't pan out, but that doesn't mean the Cowboys have lost interest in a veteran linebacker, especially considering that they benched veteran LB Justin Durant against the 49ers.
Enter the Jets and LB Demario Davis. The 28-year old Davis is unlikely to figure in the Jets' rebuilding plan. Davis is on a modest, $2.2 million one-year contract, so the Jets might be interested in getting something for Davis now - as opposed to getting nothing after the season.
Davis has started all seven Jets games so far, has played every single one of the team's 419 defensive snaps, and has recorded 59 tackles and 2.5 sacks in the process.
And who might the Cowboys offer up in a trade package if another team wanted a player? Here are two proposed options.
Offensive tackle Byron Bell
If not for Ezekiel Elliott's impending preliminary injunction hearing on Monday, Darren McFadden would be the pick for the second straight year. He has been inactive the first six games, but the Cowboys can't take the risk of trading him without knowing Elliott's status for the rest of the season. Bell has served as a backup tackle in five of the first six games. He was inactive last week against the 49ers, but he has position flexibility with the ability to play guard and tackle. He has not started a regular-season game since 2015 after missing last season with a hip injury with the Titans. Bell is on a one-year deal, which could help a trade get done, but there are some who wonder if he should be the Cowboys' left guard. -- Todd Archer
WR Cole Beasley
Cole Beasley's value with the Dallas Cowboys lessens with each passing week. The slot receiver ranks fifth on the team with 15 receptions and sixth with 109 yards.
Beasley experienced a breakout campaign in 2016, but the 28-year-old has averaged only 7.3 yards per catch through five games this fall.
Besides, Beasley's replacement is already on the roster. The organization drafted Ryan Switzer in the fourth round of April's draft after he established himself as the class's top slot receiver.
What say you BTB? Do you agree with any of thee trade ideas? Got one of your own? Hit the comments and let us know.