Our RJ Ochoa just took a look at players from the other NFC East teams that we would like to see play for the Cowboys. It’s a fun idea for the dead period as we wait for training camp to get here. I have an occasionally twisted imagination, and as soon as I saw what he had written, the evil twin of that idea popped into my head: What Cowboys player would you most hate to see land with each of our division rivals?
It is just idle speculation, of course, but it is not entirely without some inspiration in reality. The Cowboys just let Byron Jones walk in free agency because they were not willing to add his very expensive new contract to the obligations they have elsewhere. Fortunately, he decided to sign with the Miami Dolphins, which limits the possible damage he can do to his old team. But imagine if Dallas had to face him twice a year. After all, he is very familiar with guarding Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup in practice, not to mention all those reps he took against Dak Prescott.
This particular exercise takes into consideration just how badly the loss would affect Dallas, which would really have more impact than the two games a season they faced their former teammate.
There is one rule in place for this speculation. Prescott is not going to be considered for this exercise. First off, it would be the worst-case scenario if he was to leave, whether he was supplanting Dwayne Haskins, Daniel Jones, or
Jalen Hurts Carson Wentz, at least in my estimation. He is also the last player Dallas would let go, despite the current stalemate in getting to a new deal.
So here are the players I would consider as the worst cases if they switched uniforms and went to a division rival.
Zack Martin to the New York Giants
Not only would he help protect Jones, he would now be the key lead blocker for Saquon Barkley. With Jason Garrett the offensive coordinator, you know he is going to make Barkley the focus of the attack.
That may not be the best way to make things go, but it could make the games against the G-men a real nightmare, especially if the run defense for the Cowboys does not get its recent vulnerabilities corrected. Martin would also bring a lot of leadership and a massive dose of nasty attitude to that line.
While the Cowboys have some good options to replace him in Connor McGovern and Joe Looney, there is little doubt that the drop-off would be significant. From an overall viewpoint, he is possibly the best player on the roster right now. It would be a serious blow to both phases of the offense, and put the Team 40 Burger concept at real risk.
Amari Cooper to the Philadelphia Eagles
There are many arguments about who is better between Prescott and Wentz, but no one was making the case that the wide receivers in Philly were better than the Cowboys’. Give Wentz and possibly Hurts a weapon like Cooper, and their offense gets a major upgrade. It might be enough to shift the entire balance of power in the division. Given how Cooper was a significant factor in a win or two over the Eagles, being on the other side of his receiving would be painful.
And if Martin’s loss would wound Team 40 Burger, the departure of the WR1 would just about kill it outright. It would drop Dallas from having one of the elite WR groups to somewhere more in the middle of the pack, and that is assuming that CeeDee Lamb is what we think he is.
DeMarcus Lawrence to Washington
This may not seem like an obvious one, since the defensive front is already a strength of Washington. But the Cowboys went with building on strength when they drafted Lamb, and with a defensive minded head coach in Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio the defensive coordinator, adding Lawrence would make them scary indeed. And like the others, he is so very familiar with the players he would line up against. Life for Prescott, and to a lesser extent Ezekiel Elliott, would be much more difficult twice a year.
Meanwhile, the rebuild of the defensive line for the Cowboys would take a huge step back. Aldon Smith is still very much an unknown quantity, and we have no idea if Randy Gregory will even get a chance to try and help.
The good news is that all three of these standouts are under contract with Dallas for years to come. So none of these are even remote possibilities. Still, if you are one who enjoys a good horror flick, no matter how improbable, these are things that should give you chills.