Player for player trades are so hard to accomplish because teams typically overvalue their own while undervaluing someone else’s. We thought it would be good food for thought to look at the Cowboys roster and determine which players could be valuable trade assets if this team did make such a trade.
Keep in mind, the Cowboys aren’t trading any of their biggest stars, including their All-Pro linemen, their All-Pro running back, and certainly not their franchise quarterback. It would be a waste to even hint that they would be interested in trading cornerstone players. Also, there is common misconception among fans that if a guy isn’t doing well for your team that he can be shipped off to another team for some value.
For example, you can’t expect to put a guy like Chaz Green on the trade block and expect anything in return. The NFL has its fair share of suckers (i.e. anyone still paying Sam Bradford) but the reality is that no team is going to give up an asset for a player that’s likely to be released. If you want something of value, you have to be willing to give something of value, it’s that simple. So, which players on the Cowboys roster could be valuable trade assets at roster cuts?
CB Jourdan Lewis
If it makes you a little uncomfortable to think about trading the player then that’s the type of candidate you will have the most success trying to move.
Lewis, in most minds, should be the Cowboys starting nickel cornerback. He was the Cowboys third-round pick just last season but for now, he’s living the life of a backup. Lewis has been battling Anthony Brown for that nickel spot all summer long but there’s not much separation between these two. Kris Richard prefers cornerbacks with more size and length than Lewis though Richard has praised Lewis as ‘the exception’ to his rule. The Cowboys really like Anthony Brown too, even though he’s only about an inch taller than Lewis.
When looking for the value in the trade, start with a position that the Cowboys feel good about their depth. They feel pretty good about their Top-4 corners including Brown and Lewis. The reason Lewis has more value is because he is two-years younger, has a higher draft grade, and has slightly better tape than Brown. We’re not saying that the Cowboys should trade Jourdan Lewis but he most definitely would pique interest from other teams on the trade block.
LB Joe Thomas
For what it’s worth, I’m never really a big fan of getting rid of depth that you just sacquired in the offseason. Again, you have to make yourself a little uncomfortable when talking trade. If there is a star of the preseason for the Cowboys, it’s been Joe Thomas with his 10 tackles and an interception on about 40% of the defensive snaps. He’s played so well that scouts on the Packers are probably asking themselves why they let him out of the building. Thomas has showed speed and instincts for the Cowboys in preseason.
It will be extremely difficult for another team to pry him away with Leighton Vander Esch’s groin injury and Sean Lee’s injury history. With that said, if you look at the big picture, the Cowboys play with two linebackers for the most part. As good as Thomas has been, he’s not taking snaps away from a healthy Sean Lee or Jaylon Smith. The Cowboys also feel good about Damien Wilson and Justin March-Lillard, who had a great game against the Cardinals. Joe Thomas is the first guy off the bench for this team but if another team thinks he’s a starter, why not see what he’s worth?
WR Terrance Williams
At the beginning of the offseason, it was crazy to think Terrance Williams would really garner much trade attention, it may still be. The only attention Williams was getting were for all the wrong reasons but he’s done a nice job of rebounding from that. He was an afterthought dealing with a broken foot but got himself into tip-top shape for training camp. He’s been one of the more consistent receivers in the bunch and one of only three receivers to catch a touchdown in the preseason.
Williams’ value isn’t going to be sky-high but he could be packaged with a late pick to get something decent in return. Though Williams didn’t have a single touchdown catch in 2017, he finished second in yards, third in receptions, and had the highest catch rate of all the receivers at 67.9%. Williams also has started 80 games and has been responsible for 58 plays of 20+ yards or more.
With the Cowboys having a lot of receivers on their roster that have similar traits, Williams has the best shot of getting value in return. He’s never going to be a number one receiver but his production is right in line with most number two receivers in the NFL.
DE Taco Charlton
Out of all of these options, this is the least likely player for the Cowboys would be willing to part with. It is a very crowded room at defensive end though as they have DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory manning the starting spots. Dorance Armstrong has also had some impressive moments for a rookie pass rusher.
Now, when folks have talked about trading a defensive end, Charles Tapper has been the go-to name but he’s not very valuable. Tapper has barely played any football at all so trying to trade him on potential would be almost impossible considering his injury history. Taco Charlton is an ascending player in the second-year of his rookie contract, that’s a much easier sell. Plus, Charlton also has that fifth-year option attached to his first-round status.
If the Cowboys were looking to deal a defensive lineman, Taco Charlton would be their best trade asset. Still, the Cowboys aren’t going to cut bait with their first-round pick after one season. It would take a really huge offer to even consider moving Taco because they still have high hopes for him in their young defense.
The Cowboys are expecting to make quite a few moves at roster cuts to shore up some weaker spots on the roster. Though it’s more likely that they cough up late-round picks, these are just a few names on the roster that could possibly help them get more in the return.