Making trades in the NFL has never been a primary way to build a roster like it is some other sports. Recently, though, trades are starting to happen more frequently in the NFL outside of the draft window, and the Cowboys have even gotten in on a few. Making offseason trades is becoming a more popular way of gathering players.
In that spirit, let’s take a look at two players who are being proposed as potential targets for the Cowboys. The first one makes a little more sense as we’ll get into.
First trade target: P.J. Hall, DT, Las Vegas Raiders
This one is interesting because it has a Cowboys connection. Rod Marinelli has left to become the defensive line coach for the Raiders.
Unfortunately for [Radiers] 2018 second-round pick P.J. Hall, he’s not an ideal fit in [Rod] Marinelli’s scheme, as the coach prefers undersized defensive tackles who can get up the field with quickness. While Hall is certainly athletic, he has just 1.5 career sacks through two seasons in the NFL. With the Raiders already having veteran Johnathan Hankins on the roster as their 1-technique, it’s certainly possible Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden look to move on from Hall, who was drafted to be a nose tackle.
Another potential fit is with the Dallas Cowboys if they’re looking to get bigger on the defensive line. Would Dallas be interested in swapping 2019 second-round pick Trysten Hill for P.J. Hall? That move would make some sense on paper, at least, though there’s a chance Hill may not fit in Dallas coordinator Mike Nolan’s multiple defense.
Look for Hall to be shopped after the first few weeks of free agency once the defensive tackle market calms down. But don’t expect him to be traded for anything more than a late Day 3 selection.
There’s a lot that makes sense there in that the Cowboys are looking for defensive tackle help, and new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan prefers some size on the interior. On the flip side, it’s already being bandied about that Hall doesn’t fit Marinelli’s style. He’s already been called out by his general manager this offseason
A little alarm went off for third-year DT P.J. Hall today in Indy.— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) February 25, 2020
Here's Mayock: "P.J.’s got a challenge. We have a new defensive line coach coming in, and trust me, Rod Marinelli doesn’t put up with anything but 100 percent hustle. Nothing but.” #Raiders
Hall was a small-school product that was shockingly taken by the Raiders in the second round. He’s has some real admirable traits physically, but he hasn’t translated that to the NFL level yet.
Hall was a freaky athlete for his 6 foot, 305-pound frame. He was also a playmaker at the small-school level. However, it has yet to translate to the NFL for Hall, who will turn 25 next month. He started 12 games in 2019, but just didn’t make an impact. He has 26 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
Maybe new scenery is what he needs. The Cowboys seem to have a similar problem with Trysten Hill. But it was Marinelli who wanted Hill and pushed the Cowboys to draft him, the questions is does he still feel that way about Hill and could he be used as trade bait in some kind of deal.
The second deal is a little more exciting because of the quality of the player, but there is some hesitation about whether his team would even trade him.
Second trade target: David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns
Njoku was a first-round pick but his career nose-dived last year in Cleveland. He fell out of favor with the previous coaching/management staff, but that personnel has changed this year.
Now with a new general manager and coaching staff in place, the Browns could look to move on from Njoku this offseason for a more traditional tight end. If that is the case, teams such as the Washington Redskins or Dallas Cowboys could be interested in his services if he were available via trade. In Washington’s case, both Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis are due to become unrestricted free agents, while Dallas could look to replace Jason Witten, who is also scheduled to hit the open market.
The Cowboys are likely bringing back Blake Jarwin, but Witten’s return seems much less certain. Coach Mike McCarthy would have a big say in whether he wants to bring in more tight ends that are more of the athletic, pass-catching variety.
ESPN also previously tabbed Njoku as someone who could use a change of scenery.
He fell out of favor under the previous regime, as he was a regular healthy scratch down the stretch after returning from IR after a wrist injury. Had coach Freddie Kitchens and general manager John Dorsey been retained, Njoku almost certainly would have been out the door. Still, while Njoku would have a fresh start under a new coach and front office, it’s clear he was also losing the trust of QB Baker Mayfield. That’s why the 2017 first-round selection might be better off attempting to resuscitate his career elsewhere — especially if the Browns can get something that can help them in return.
The problem with of all this - it doesn’t sound like Cleveland is inclined to trade him just yet.
“We still have a lot of confidence in David,” [GM] Berry said. “Obviously last year didn’t go according to plan. He feels that way and we feel that way. Obviously he was hurt for a significant stretch. We still have a lot of faith there. We think he’s a very talented player. I look forward to seeing Kevin (Stefanski), (tight ends coach) Drew Petzing work with him to ultimately get him to his ceiling.”
So while it looks like a tempting trade, it may cost way too much to pry him away.
What say you BTB? Interested in either player as a trade target?