William Shakespeare Football

Cowboys Trade Rumors – To Trade or Not to Trade? That is the Question.

Welcome to Cowboys Trade Rumors, William Shakespeare edition where we apply to the persistent Cowboys trade rumors the ultimate question. To trade or not to trade? For really, that is the question.

Cowboys Trade Rumors – The Setup

Uber talented LB Micah Parsons dropped in the Cowboys’ lap during the 2021 NFL Draft and to the ‘Boys and Jerry Jones credit, they didn’t overthink it. Long-term in the NFL talent trumps need and Dallas took the best guy on the board even though it was a position of team strength at the moment with both Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch on the roster. The club doubled down on the position later via LSU standout Jabril Cox later in the 4th. Combined with the free-agent acquisition of former Falcons Safety/LB Keanu Neal there would seem to be a logjam at the position.

Queue the Cowboys trade rumors.

The Cowboys trade rumors began instantly and it’s easy to see why. There are only so many starting positions at LB on any NFL team with many schemes often calling for 1 or 2 down specialists. All of the above players have 3-down skills and contracts. NFL math at its worst. There is a lot of logic out there as to why and who to trade as well as which NFL partner could make it happen. I find they all miss the mark in one critical area, underestimate the value of hybrid players in today’s NFL game, and leave out related information. These factors greatly affect this bean-counting situation, especially the timing. Ah yes, the timing. Let’s break down the different scenarios to illustrate.

Cowboys Trade Leighton Vander Esch

This is the popular trade piece according to popular opinioin. There are obviouis reasons why.

  • The 5th-year option by the team was not exercised
  • Recent injury history
  • Easiest contract to move
  • 1st round talent upside
  • Last year of his rookie contract

There are also plenty of reasons to not make the trade.

  • Injury to other LBs at critical times of the season
  • NFL FA loss compensation pick
  • LVE skillset well suited to DC Quinn’s scheme
  • Unknown results of direct competition for best LB in the current scheme
  • The best chemistry for a starting group of players is ???
  • His ability and instincts to flow to the ball at a high rate of speed while taking great angles is insane
  • He has solid coverage skills
  • Keanu Neal is an experiment, not a certainty
  • Micah Parsons AND Jabril Cox are rookies

Cowboys Trade Jaylon Smith

The less popular choice for a trade but still on the table, Smith also has lots of reasons to be here.

  • Not living up to his contract
  • Would be great to get his contract off the books after signing Prescott
  • Could/should bring a higher return than LVE
  • Smith massively underperformed in the Cowboys new scheme last season

And (of course) like LVE, the club has plenty of reasons to not make this trade.

  • Smith underperformed in a scheme not suited to him and one that is now gone
  • DC Dan Quinn’s scheme seems to be a perfect fit for Jaylon Smith’s skillset
  • Unknown results of direct competition for best LB in the current scheme
  • The best chemistry for a starting group of players is ???
  • Has incredible ability to blitz as well as play sideline to sideline
  • Solid coverage skills
  • Keanu Neal is an experiment, not a certainty
  • Micah Parsons AND Jabril Cox are rookies

To trade or not to trade, that is indeed the question. Certainly, the Cowboys are going to listen to offers at a position of strength, but doing a deal too early has to be worth it. The payment would have to negate the loss of that position of strength. Most proposed trade scenarios out there right now are talking 3rd, perhaps a 2nd round pick. I don’t think that gets the job done right now. Not when the Cowboys can sit tight and very well get a 3rd, lowest a 4th round pick from FA compensation for LVE and still have the versatility and comfort having that much depth at a position your DC is known for getting a lot out of.

After the season gets underway and the rookies have proved themselves to be playmakers everything changes. But until then Jaylon Smith and LVE are known quantities that should excel in Dan Quinn’s aggressive D. Patience here could/should pay off in multiple ways. Jerry Jones knows how to get a deal done, does he have the patience to wait for the right time? Now that is the real question.

Another Left Coast Sports Post
on Twitter: Steven Van Over

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