The NFL trade deadline came and went for a Dallas Cowboys team in the middle of resting up during their bye week. But there’s no time for a vacation in Dallas. After some mid-year evaluations, the Cowboys made a move to help solidify their pass rush. Following the injury to Tyrone Crawford, the team added veteran defensive end Michael Bennett. The name Bennett is no stranger to Cowboys fan as Michael’s brother Martellus was a Jason Witten backup once upon a time.
Michael Bennett is also familiar given his time playing for the hated Eagles in 2018. This Bennett brother will give Dallas some depth and position flexibility, a personal favorite descriptor for a Cowboys player from Chief Operating Officer Stephen Jones. Because Bennett can rush inside and outside, one should expect him to line up inside on passing situations.
This wasn’t the only trade opportunity that had Dallas making some headlines before the deadline, however. The deal most Cowboys fans wanted never came to fruition. The Cowboys passed on the opportunity to land star safety Jamal Adams from the New York Jets. Recently we wrote about the need for safety help in Dallas if not now, then in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Adams is considered one of the up-and-comers in the league at the position and could have taken care of that need for the foreseeable future in a similar way that Amari Cooper was identified as someone who would solve a need for an introspective Dallas group during their bye week in 2018. The Cowboys took that plunge on Cooper and acquired the wideout for a first rounder from the Raiders just over a year ago this month.
However, unlike Cooper, it seems the asking price for Adams was more than the Cowboys were willing to give up. All reports indicate that the Jets wanted a blockbuster haul for the services of Adams.
Adams would have been an immediate upgrade to this defense at the safety position but a demand of that magnitude was far too much. While the 2018 second team All-Pro performer would be a difference maker, would he have been worth the huge hit to the future if the reported prices were true? No, not even close at this point.
Of course, Adams could become that type of player, as he’s still young at 24 and was the sixth overall selection as recently as the 2017 NFL draft, but his play early on in his career shows he isn’t a multiple early round picks type of trade candidate just yet. For the Cowboys to give up such premium draft capital, they would need an instant game changer in return. Through his first two plus seasons, the former LSU Tiger has created just six turnovers. For reference, incumbent starter Jeff Heath has created seven turnovers in that span (three interceptions and four forced fumbles).
Giving that the request in picks was a huge ask, and given the Cowboys draft history since Jason Garrett became the full time head coach, those early round picks would have been a lot to miss out on. And while it worked with Cooper last season, his acquisition cost just one pick. Giving up even more early round picks would just further damage the team’s ability to restock in the coming years with cheap, upper echelon draft talent.
The Cowboys built their offensive line in this current era with Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin all coming as first round picks. If you factor in the second round, you add Connor Williams. The Cowboys also built their young linebackers in the early rounds with Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith. Franchise bellwether Ezekiel Elliott was famously the fourth overall selection in 2016. The list goes on.
The Cowboys have built themselves to be a team that drafts well and then pays their good young players. If they keep giving up draft picks, the house of cards will begin to waver before toppling as they seek to put together the finishing touches. While fans may be upset that the Cowboys didn’t land another top-tier talent at a position of need, this was the right move for a franchise who is looking to win another division crown and continue to build a young team for the future.
Do you think the Cowboys should have mortgaged some of the future to land a big upgrade at a position of need in Jamal Adams? Share your thoughts on Dallas keeping their powder dry with Patrick on Twitter @DraftCowboys.