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Free agent rumors: Would the Cowboys move David Irving for a high draft pick?

What should the Cowboys do with one of their impact playmakers on the defensive line?

Washington Redskins v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Eight games, seven sacks. How do you like dem apples?

David Irving has been a delicious treat for the Cowboys defense ever since they scooped him off the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad in 2015. He only played in 12 games off the bench during his first year with the team, but his 6-foot-7 frame helped spark interest when he blocked a field goal against the Seattle Seahawks. His potential started becoming more evident when he had outstanding second halves in games against Green Bay and Tampa Bay last season. Irving would finish the year with only four sacks, but by seasons end - it was looking like he could be a special player for this defense.

This season didn’t start as well as he’d hoped as he missed the first four games of the year serving a suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. And it didn’t end well either as he missed the team’s final four games due to a concussion. But what happened in the middle was spectacular. In just Irving’s first four games of the year, he recorded six sacks. Some actually pondered if he had a shot to catch DeMarcus Lawrence’s sack total, despite Tank having a four-game head start. Irving was playing that well.

So when the subject comes up about how the team should proceed with Irving, it seems very obvious - slap that first-round tender on him and let’s go!

But is that how the Cowboys see it? There is a buzz going around that maybe the team would be willing to tempt another club into offering up a second-round pick for him. This time of year, leading into free agency, we’ll hear some crazy rumors, and some not so crazy. Let’s take a look at this one.

I can’t imagine that the Cowboys would be willing to part with a known talent like Irving for just a second-round pick. But maybe the Cowboys see it differently. Is there more than just a Tweet from someone at Fox Sports?

Our old friend KD Drummond posted this over at Cowboys Wire a couple days ago.

The idea Dallas is willing to let Irving walk seems to be spreading. On their latest Trust the Tape podcast, 105.3 The Fan’s Jeff Cavanaugh and draft expert Dane Brugler discussed the possibility.

When going through Brugler’s mock draft, the topic of the defensive line of Dallas came up when he sent 3-technique Maurice Hurst to the Cowboys.

Cavanaugh: “I think on that one it will depend… you’ll know ‘David Irving’ things before the draft. Right? He’s a restricted free agent and if somebody signs him to a deal and the Cowboys take their pick and let him walk…”

Brugler: “I think there’s a good chance that happens.”

Cavanaugh: “Then I could see that pick.”

Brugler: “Yeah, and there’s a good chance that happens.”

Well, as Todd Archer reports, there could be some other things going on here:

Consistency has been Irving’s issue, on and off the field. His talent will give him chances others won’t get, but he confounds coaches at times. He did not practice in part of the offseason for reasons not really known. He did not show up for the first reporting day of training camp at The Star before the Cowboys went to Oxnard, California.

Irving’s future depends on becoming more reliable. He is set to be a restricted free agent. The Cowboys are likely to give him the second-round tender in hopes that 2018 becomes the year he puts it all together, on and off the field.

If there are character issues with Irving, then maybe the team doesn’t see him as a part of their future. I mean we are talking about a guy who got in a little trouble in college.

But maybe that’s just a part of it. Maybe the team wants Maliek Collins back at the 3-tech position so they can employ a true 1-tech DT on their defensive line? Even if that’s the case, finding time for Iring in the rotation, anywhere on the line, shouldn’t be an issue. He’s not picky. He’ll do whatever is asked of him.

“Honestly, it doesn’t make any difference; put me at nose guard, left end, right end, three-technique, it really doesn’t matter,” Irving said. “Wherever I can make plays, wherever I can help the team. I’m capable of playing any position on the line, so wherever the coaches need me, wherever my team needs me.”

Maybe the Cowboys want the draft capital. With the team looking for upgrades at several positions, a bonus second-rounder would come in handy. If the team placed a first-round tender on him, other teams would shy away as that’s a lot to surrender. Could the team tempt another squad by dangling only a second-round tender on him?

It should be interesting to see how the Cowboys handle this situation. Irving has been one of my personal favorites since he joined the team and has been an absolute beast on the defensive line. But this organization has a good feel for what they have in their players and sometimes the best decisions aren’t always our favorites.

What do you think the Cowboys should do with Irving? First-round tender? Second-round? Sign him long-term?