For a team with as high of a profile as the Dallas Cowboys, their offseason has been relatively quiet. This is after an ugly performance in the Wild Card round, which led many to believe there would be some massive shakeup within the organization.
Sure, trading your top receiver for the past few years is a big deal, but could the biggest blockbuster move of the Cowboys’ offseason be yet to come?
That’s the idea we’re running with here, as we forecast three ideal trade scenarios for America’s Team ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Dak Prescott gets a new bodyguard with trade for Mekhi Becton
Amazingly, offensive line play has let Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and the rest of Kellen Moore’s unit down in recent seasons. Injuries and otherwise ineffective play have had a large impact on the running game, for Zeke in particular. While the Cowboys are expected to address these needs in the draft, using their nine selections, there is another way.
Perhaps intrigued by the possibility of buying low on Mekhi Becton, the 11th overall selection in 2020, the Cowboys could see just how available the 6-foot-7, 369-pound offensive tackle is. Despite being the top pick for the Jets two seasons ago, Becton has played just 15 games since. With the Jets liking the play they got from George Fant at left tackle a season ago, there’s growing belief that Becton could be on the move.
If the Cowboys could land the former top prospect for a package including their second (No. 56) or third-round selection (No. 88), why not take a chance on drastically improving in the trenches?
Dallas Cowboys add to receiver corps with Tyler Lockett
The main reason behind trading Amari Cooper was to shed his $22 million cap hit in 2022. They also didn’t seem pleased with his camaraderie with Prescott and his overall production. Basically, they didn’t see the value in Cooper being a top-paid player at his position.
One player who has great route-running skills just as Cooper did and could be available for a similarly low price is Seattle’s Tyler Lockett. One significant difference between the two is recent production. Even when stuck in a struggling Seahawks offense, Lockett still generated 1,175 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches.
- Amari Cooper stats: 104 targets, 68 receptions, 865 yards, 8 TD catches
- Tyler Lockett stats: 107 targets, 73 receptions, 1,175 yards, 8 TD catches
With the Seahawks potentially approaching a rebuild (depending on how the draft goes), the idea of moving off Lockett’s salary while adding talent now could be appealing. Set to be 30 when the football year begins, Lockett’s timeline doesn’t align with the Seahawks’ future. Even though they’d take a $28M hit in dead money with a trade, they’d still save $18M.
If the Cowboys are willing to take the chance at Lockett being more reliable than Cooper was, it might not be a bad move.
Jerry Jones goes big-game hunting with a trade up
In his 33 years of owning the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones has conducted a grand total of 72 draft-day trades. He’s not taking a year off now. Of course, in that time there have been several trades down the draft board, but when the front office identifies a prospect the Cowboys must-have, they’re not afraid to climb up the board.
Many NFL GMs have gone on record suggesting they only have roughly 15-20 players with first-round grades on them in the 2022 NFL Draft class. Stephen Jones willingly noted the Cowboys have about 14-16 prospects with a Round 1 grade. Picking at No. 24, that just might be considered out of reach if the Cowboys have plans on adding yet another blue-chip prospect to their 2022 depth chart.
As we witnessed a season ago, even nailing one draft pick can make a large impact on your roster. The Cowboys roped in Micah Parsons who went on to win 2021-22 Defensive Rookie of the Year, is there another top prospect the team is enamored with in the top-15 this year?
With needs on the offensive line, at wide receiver, and in the secondary, there should be plenty of opportunities to grab a player who starts to slip on draft day.