The Dallas Cowboys are out of their bye and into prep for the Rams, with players getting a much deserved week of rest while the coaching staff and front office tries to identify avenues for improvement.
With the Trevon Diggs injury, cornerback has been a popular trade position. Here are five cornerbacks that could potentially fit as targets for Dallas.
Broncos CB Fabian Moreau (2023 salary: $1.1 million)
Fabian Moreau is in his seventh season in the NFL, with five of those years coming in the NFC East. He has 35 pass breakups and six interceptions in 95 career games, as well as experience playing both outside and in the slot. That combination of experience and versatility could make him an under-the-radar addition.
Right now, Moreau is hardly seeing the field for a terrible Broncos defense, playing on just 6.8% of the defensive snaps. That likely means he’d come at a very low price, and Moreau’s contract - which expires after the year - is in line with what the team is reportedly looking for from a financial perspective.
Vikings CB Andrew Booth Jr. (2023 salary: $1.08 million)
A high second-round pick out of Georgia a year ago, Andrew Booth Jr. came into the league with a lot of hype and has yet to live up to it. Booth was a celebrated press-man corner in college, an ideal fit for what Dan Quinn asks of his secondary. Booth hardly played as a rookie, with just one game playing a majority of defensive snaps, before a knee injury ended his season.
Under a new defensive coordinator this year, Booth saw a total of four defensive snaps through the first five weeks of the season. He represents a young and unproven player with traits that would seem to fit in Dallas, but just isn’t seeing the field right now. With the Vikings possibly sellers, Booth might be on the table.
Giants CB Darnay Holmes (2023 salary: $1.01 million)
If the Cowboys are looking to keep DaRon Bland on the outside, and instead upgrade their slot coverage where Jourdan Lewis has struggled this year, then they might have some options within the division. Darnay Holmes had been the Giants’ top slot option for the last three years and performed admirably with an 89.7 passer rating when targeted in the slot.
This year, though, Holmes has been supplanted by Adoree’ Jackson, who had previously spent most of his time on the outside with the Giants. Holmes is only playing on 28.7% of the defensive snaps right now, so it shouldn’t take too much to pry him away. He’s also in the final year of his rookie deal, potentially making him more appealing for Dallas.
Giants CB Cor’Dale Flott (2023 salary: $893,266)
Another Giants player, Cordale Flott, is in a similar situation to Holmes. Flott was a versatile defender at LSU who excelled in the slot. The Giants mostly played him outside to keep Holmes inside, and the results haven’t exactly been stellar.
This year, Flott is playing on 25.8% of defensive snaps and, unlike Holmes, isn’t even seeing any work on special teams. Like Booth, Flott is more of an upside target, but he has good size and length, traits that Quinn is known to covet. The question really comes down to whether or not the Giants would trade one of their players within the division.
Bears CB Jaylon Johnson (2023 salary: $2.99 million)
Of all the realistic trade candidates (read: not Patrick Surtain II), Jaylon Johnson might make the most sense. Johnson fits the size and length requirements for Quinn while also playing really good football. He recorded 31 pass breakups in his first three years and has been the Bears’ best corner over that span.
Why would he be available? Well, the Bears are terrible this year. Add to it that Johnson is in the final year of his rookie contract, the current regime didn’t draft him, and in fact has drafted three cornerbacks of their own already. Johnson seems likely to play somewhere else next year, and if Chicago can get something in return for him, that’s a (rare) win. He would also be a high-value addition in Dallas.
Also add RB, TE, WR if we keeping it 100 https://t.co/03Im4rMZDm— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) October 19, 2023
Of course, cornerback isn’t the only position of need in Dallas, as the team is very thin at linebacker. It also wouldn’t hurt to beef up those skill player positions, as Clarence Hill and Bryan Broaddus pointed out. In that spirit, here are four other players that could become targets for the Cowboys.
Panthers LB Frankie Luvu (2023 salary: $2.6 million)
Frankie Luvu is the most expensive player on this side of the nine players Dallas could trade for, but it would be worth its weight in gold to invest. On a bad Panthers team, he’s been one of their best playmakers on defense two years in a row.
At just 27 years old, Luvu has played in 77 games and had 111 tackles, seven sacks, and 19 tackles for loss in 2022. This year, Luvu is coming off his best two-game stretch with 14 combined tackles and 2.5 sacks.
The Panthers have used Luvu similarly to how Dan Quinn uses Micah Parsons. He can move all over the defense and be disruptive from any position. What’s better than one, Micah Parsons? Having two of them. Plus, he will be a free agent in 2024, and the Cowboys could walk away after this year if it doesn’t work out.
Titans LB Azeez Al-Shaair (2023 salary: $1.08 million)
Azeez Al-Shaair was someone the Cowboys should have looked at this offseason. He became a free agent because he was the odd man out in the San Francisco 49ers linebacker corps.
However, don’t let that fool you. Al-Shaair has been one of the more fierce linebackers in the NFL, finally coming into his own a few years ago. He battled his share of injuries with the 49ers, but he’s played and started all six games in Tennessee. In the first two games of the season, he had 15 combined tackles in each game!.
The Cowboys could use more tenacity at the linebacker position, depending on how long Leighton Vander Esch is out. Rashaan Evans should be thrown into the mix soon, but why not add another abled body who has proven to be instinctive in defending the run?
It couldn’t hurt to have Al-Shaair on the team if the Cowboys square off against the 49ers in the playoffs again.
Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (2023 salary: $1.98 million)
This one could hurt the Rico Dowdle truthers out there, but why not take a flyer on a former first-round pick in need of a new home? Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s production has severely dropped each season in the league.
In his rookie season, CEH had 803 yards and four touchdowns. Since then, he’s had a combined 919 yards and eight touchdowns in three years. The Chiefs declined his fifth-year option, so he’s on a favorable rookie deal where Dallas doesn’t have to commit past this season.
If the Cowboys want to keep Malik Davis on the practice squad and have CEH take Deuce Vaughn’s spot on the roster, it will give Dallas three veteran backs and an extra one that could spell Tony Pollard of some snaps to keep him fresh. Plus, with the Chiefs having Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon, it might not take more than a late day-three pick to get this done.
Bears TE Marcedes Lewis (2023 salary: $1.6 million)
The Jacksonville Jaguars took Marcedes Lewis in the first round of the 2006 NFL draft. In the same draft, the Jags selected Maurice Jones-Drew as their second-round pick. He hasn’t played football since 2014—Lewis is still playing.
Lewis is 39 years old, and his health could become a liability. However, his veteran leadership could help a young tight-end corps led by Jake Ferguson. Lewis has just one catch for eight yards on the season, so that shouldn’t threaten Ferguson’s snaps running routes.
Instead, Lewis would be used as a run/pass blocker, as he continues to be an expert in that area. Pro Football Focus has Lewis graded as the 13th-best run blocker (minimum 34 run blocking snaps) and the fifth-best pass blocker (minimum five pass blocking snaps) among NFL tight ends.
For a Cowboys team with tight ends behind Ferguson that struggle in this area, an aging Tyron Smith, and Terence Steele coming back from an ACL injury, Lewis’ presence would be welcomed as an extra offensive tackle.