The Dallas Cowboys focused primarily on the defensive side of the ball during the 2021 NFL Draft, adding linebacker Micah Parsons in the mix in the first round. Dallas doubled down at that position in the mid rounds with talented former North Dakota State and LSU backer Jabril Cox.
In addition to this, Dallas looked to upgrade a pedestrian secondary by selecting cornerback Kelvin Joseph and safety Israel Mukuamu. The goal here is to improve a unit that yielded nearly 30 points per game during a disastrous six-win 2020 campaign.
These moves also created somewhat of a logjam on defense, meaning that the Dallas Cowboys could be looking to pull off a trade or two before the start of training camp. There’s also that whole salary cap situation and the presence of young running back Tony Pollard in the backfield. Could this lead to a shocking trade of Ezekiel Elliott? Below, we look at three trades Dallas should still consider making this offseason.
Dallas Cowboys trade Jaylon Smith to the Cleveland Browns
Despite the Browns’ selection of stud former Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft, this remains a need for the AFC title contender. Reports have since surfaced that Owusu-Koramoah dropped to Round 2 due to some health concerns. Even if he’s able to make an immediate impact, the former Golden Domer could line up at multiple linebacker positions. That’s where Smith could come in and act as an upgrade at the weakside linebacker spot for Cleveland.
As for the Cowboys, they really have an abundance of talent at linebacker. In addition to adding Parsons and Cox to the mix during the draft, Dallas signed former Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl safety Keanu Neal. New defensive coordinator Dan Quinn remains steadfast in his belief that Neal will play linebacker. If so, moving Smith for a former top-round pick in cornerback Greedy Williams as well as future draft compensation could make sense. Dallas obviously still has a need at cornerback after yielding 34 touchdown passes against 10 interceptions a season ago.
Dallas Cowboys trade for Stephon Gilmore
Owner Jerry Jones indicated earlier in the offseason that Dallas avoided the likes of veterans Josh Norman in free agency due to the team’s salary cap situation. Now, entering one of the final waves of NFL free agency, Dallas finds itself just $9.61 million under the cap. It would have to work some things out in order to bring in this former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and his $7.32 million cap hit for an acquiring team.
Even then, Gilmore to the Cowboys makes a whole lot of sense. Even after selecting the aforementioned Kelvin Joesph in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft, this is a major need. Joseph is slated to start opposite 2020 draft pick Trevon Diggs. That lack of experience is a less-than-ideal scenario. Gilmore could come in and act as a veteran presence. In return, Dallas sends a couple mid-round picks to the Patriots.
Read More: 3 realistic Ezekiel Elliott trade scenarios
Dallas Cowboys pull off blockbuster Ezekiel Elliott trade
Let’s look at the finances of this before you call me crazy. Moving forward into 2022, the likes of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper and DeMarcus Lawrence are slated to count a combined $98.7 million against the cap. That’s about half of the projected $200 million NFL salary cap figure in 2022. Meanwhile, Dallas has an ultra-impressive and cheap Tony Pollard prepared to take on a larger role in the backfield.
Fresh off a disappointing season (by his standards), Elliott is seemingly a luxury the Dallas Cowboys can’t afford moving forward. And while the trade market might be limited due to his bloated contract, there’d still be some interest in the 25-year-old former All-Pro. Perhaps the Miami Dolphins and their abundance of future draft picks come calling. They are still in need of a running back after avoiding that position until the seventh round in the 2021 NFL Draft. A future second-round pick and cornerback Xavien Howard could make sense here.