There has been a lot of talk about going after All-Pro safety Earl Thomas this offseason. It would be great to be able to grab a star player from another NFC team, especially considering it would be at a position the Cowboys could use an upgrade. A player like Thomas could be the piece that puts this defense over the hump and helps them go on a deep playoff run. While such a move might not be in the cards for the Cowboys, it’s still fun to ponder these types of things.
So, that’s what we’re going to do here. We’re going to ponder. What if you could go shopping in the NFC East store? Your budget is simply this - one player per team. Recently, Los Angeles Rams fan AJDraftScout tweeted this question to others and this is what he came up with for LA:
If you guys had to take one player from each team in your favorite team's division and put him on your team, who would it be? For me and the Rams, it's:— AJDraftScout (@AJDraftScout) June 22, 2018
Seattle: Bobby Wagner
49ers: Reuben Foster
Cardinals: Chandler Jones
If you could take one player from the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins, who would they be? There’s one caveat - whomever you pick, you get them for the remaining terms of their contract and you must inherit the exact conditions that their current team is paying out. You could certainly choose to cut or re-sign at any point, but you’d be up against the regular challenges a team faces in those situations (i.e. dead money, free agent market price).
Let’s do this!
New York Giants
Who I’m not taking: Odell Beckham Jr.
OBJ is a great talent, but I’m not exchanging one headache receiver for another. Dez Bryant has been criticized for missing time due to injuries as he’s been out 10 games over the last four years, but Odell has missed 17 games in that same span. And if the Cowboys want an attitude adjustment at WR, bringing on OBJ is not the way to do it.
Honorable mention: Damon “Snacks” Harrison
Adding a 340-pound All-Pro defensive tackle to the mix would do wonders for this defense. It would lock down the 1-tech position and allow all their other defensive linemen do what they do best - get after the quarterback. He’s a great player that would help, but his cap hit over the next three seasons would be around $10 million per year. The front office hasn’t shown an inclination to invest so heavily in a big nose-tackle, so I won’t either.
My pick would be: Landon Collins
Collins is one of the best strong safeties in the game. In just his second season, he recorded 125 tackles and was named an All Pro. At just 24-years-old, the Cowboys could add a great talent at a position they need help at. He’s instinctive, he’s tough, and he’s in the backfield before you know it. It’s what Sean Lee would look like if he played safety.
Who I’m not taking: Carson Wentz
Make no mistake about it, Wentz is a great quarterback. Prior to his injury that ended his season, he was on his way to an MVP season. It’s very possible that he could end up being one of the greats over the next several years. Why would I not want that?
Answer: Dak Prescott. I’m not ready to throw dirt on the idea that Prescott could be one of the great up-and-coming quarterbacks too. At different points in the in their career each of them have looked like the better quarterback from the draft. First Dak, then Wentz. And don’t be surprised if it changes yet again. ESPN compared them after their first 25 starts and they matched pretty well.
The QB position is very important so it’s tempting, but I’m still a believer in Dak.
Honorable mention: Fletcher Cox
The veteran defensive linemen has recorded 21.5 sacks over the last there years. It’s good enough to make the Pro Bowl in each of those seasons. He’s a great player and would help the team’s interior defensive line, but similar to “Snacks” his price is expensive. He’s going to be close to a $20 million cap hit in each of the next five years and the Cowboys cannot allocate that type of money if they want to retain other important pieces.
My pick would be: Zach Ertz
Jason Witten replaced Zach Ertz in the Pro Bowl as the Eagles tight end had a more important game to play in. Ertz is coming off his third-straight 70+ catch, 800+ yard season and has established himself as one of the best tight ends in the league. Not only does his on-field performance speak volumes, but his off-field character grades out high as well. Don’t believe me? Why don’t we ask the GOAT himself...
In 15 years, I gave away my jersey after a game one time. Zach Ertz earned my respect- not only one of the best all-around at the position in our game, but handles his business the right way. The impact we have on others- it matters. Best of luck to you @ZERTZ_86 https://t.co/VwCFRz0Hg1— Jason Witten (@JasonWitten) May 19, 2018
I’m baffled why the Eagles used their top draft resource to grab Dallas Goedert when they have a guy who should be getting a heavy dose of targets over the next several years. Goedert isn’t the Philly tight I want, but I wouldn’t mind having Ertz.
Who I don’t want: Jordan Reed
If Ertz wasn’t an option, I’d give serious consideration to the Redskins veteran tight end, Jordan Reed. When healthy, he’s a superstar. In 2015, he had 87 catches for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. And he did that in just 14 games. But unfortunately, that was his healthiest season of his career as he’s missed games in each of his five seasons in the league. While Ertz might be the most Witten-like tight end in the game, Reed is the anti-Witten when it comes to reliability.
Honorable mention: DaRon Payne
It’s hard to use your one and only team pick on a player who hasn’t stepped on the field yet, so I won’t, but the thought of having Payne is certainly appealing. He was one of my favorite draft prospects who could potentially fall to 19 in April’s draft, but he didn’t make it as the Redskins took him 13th overall. The Cowboys could use a big bodied DT to help on the defensive line.
My pick would be: Ryan Kerrigan
The Redskins edge rusher started strong, averaging over eight sacks per year over his first three seasons. He was just getting started. Over the last four seasons, he’s averaged almost 12 sacks a year. The former first-round pick from 2011 is as reliable as they come and would give the Cowboys a fierce defensive line rotation. Washington signed him to a five-year, $58 million extension in 2015 so he’s locked up for the next three seasons at a cap hit of about $12 million per year. That’s good value.
Which players from each team would you choose?