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2022 NFL Draft: Contract-year Dallas Cowboys that could be trade pieces

All avenues of team-building should be explored for the Cowboys.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

At present time the Dallas Cowboys have nine selections to work with during the 2022 NFL Draft. The Cowboys have holes to be filled and depth that needs reinforcing. In total nine picks sounds nice, but the Cowboys only have three of them inside of the top 100. They are looking for impact players which means it would behoove them to pick up more selections within the double-digit range.

One way for the Cowboys to acquire more picks is to trade back in the first round, but obviously if they have a player who they want available to them, then it is difficult to say no to that. There are alternative trades that the team could make, ones that involve hypothetically dealing away some of their own players.

We last saw the Cowboys trade away a player during the draft back in 2018 when they sent wide receiver Ryan Switzer to the then-Oakland Raiders. That specific trade was player for player, but that same draft the Cowboys sent a pick to the Los Angeles Rams for veteran wide receiver Tavon Austin.

Who could the Cowboys look to trade during this draft if they are so inclined to do so?

Contract-year Dallas Cowboys that could be trade pieces involve players like Tony Pollard and Connor McGovern

In discussing hypothetical players to trade away, we have to inject a measure of practicality. The Cowboys aren’t going to be looking to trade for a top 10 pick or anything and they are not going to give up a cornerstone-type of player.

One of the best rocks to look under for players to include in a trade is those who are in contract years. Perhaps there is a team who feels they are a certain type of player away from being exactly who they want to be and would be willing to give up a pick in exchange for the player and change (say a fifth, luckily the Cowboys have four of those). There are a number of Cowboys who are entering the final year of their deals with the team and they are potential pieces for the team to consider moving if they really need to.

For the purposes of this exercise we are excluding contract-year players who signed a one-year deal with the team this offseason. Obviously it is incredibly unlikely that Dallas signed a player just to trade them away a few months later.

Notable players entering the final year of their contract with the Dallas Cowboys:

  • Tony Pollard
  • Terence Steele
  • Connor McGovern
  • Trysten Hill
  • Anthony Brown
  • Tarrell Basham
  • Cooper Rush
  • Sean McKeon

The most-enticing trade piece here is obviously Tony Pollard, and while it is difficult to make even hypothetical peace with the idea of Dallas trading him away, the truth is that the team has generally refused to use him to the capacity that he should be. Considering that Dallas could lose Pollard in free agency next year, there is one line of logic to dealing him now in the name of landing a player who the Cowboys could have on a rookie deal for the next four years, especially if they do draft a running back this year like is expected.

Beyond Pollard, the next-best player available for trade would seemingly be Terence Steele, but given that the Cowboys released La’el Collins they are banking on him to be a starter at right tackle this year. So he’s out.

Connor McGovern makes some sense if another team feels like he could be a starter for them, but given that so few believe he can be one for this team that feels unlikely.

Honestly there is an argument that Anthony Brown actually makes the most sense as far as willingness on the Dallas side of a potential deal. The Cowboys reportedly offered Brown to the New York Jets three years ago during the Jamal Adams saga so they are clearly not opposed to parting ways with him.