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FRISCO – Both things are true. Dallas Cowboys COO Stephen Jones said in public at the end of the week that as the NFL’s Tuesday trade deadline approaches, “We’re open for business.” And … as CowboysSI.com has reported, in private, they have absolutely been that, having engaged in exploratory trade conversations around the league.
But there is a “but” that throws some cold water on the excitement of the 4-2 team being “all-in” in its pursuit of the Eagles and 49ers at the top of the NFC.
Jones, speaking on 105.3 The Fan, issued a lengthy explanation of all the obstacles that might get in the way of a trade. Part of his “yeah-but” monologue:
“As you can imagine, there’s a lot (involved),” he said. “It starts with what you’re going to have to give up and where that player fits in. You’ve got to have a vision, a plan for it and for a player to come in and help this team right now, more than likely, unfortunately, it’s probably going to be somebody who is an established guy and his probably usually well-paid and they probably want a lot for him. That makes it a challenge and that’s probably why you don’t see as many trades as you might think.”
Stephen continued: “We were down to the wire with one last year in Brandin Cooks. Between the compensation for the team and the compensation for the player, it just became very difficult to make it work. Now, we ultimately made a deal (in March) and got Brandin here in Dallas. But it didn’t work out at the trade deadline because of some of the variables that go into that that I just mentioned.”
And more: “You hear a lot of names in the rumor mill, but when it comes right down to making one it’s hard.”
So … “A lot involved.” “Unfortunately …” “(Too) well-paid.” “They want a lot for him.” “It’s a challenge.” “Very difficult.” “Variables.” “It’s hard.”
The Cowboys can say “We’re open for business,” but that sounds like an awful lot of doors being difficult to unlock.
Stephen’s full remark: “Anybody who knows us knows we are always open for business,” Stephen said. “We’ve been in here 30 years and it’s just having something that makes sense.”No arguments there; Dallas doesn’t just need to “do something.” But inarguably, the Cowboys top rival the Eagles have created the impression that transactions are easier than Stephen describes. Meanwhile, we would also take issue with the assertion that the target will necessarily be “well-paid” and that his team “will probably want a lot for him.”
Those do not have to be issues at all. Indeed, the Cowboys’ six most recent trades …
*Johnathan Hankins was acquired by sending a sixth-rounder to the Raiders (with a seven coming back.)
*Stephon Gilmore was acquired by sending a fifth-rounder to the Colts.
*Brandin Cooks was acquired by sending a fifth and a sixth to the Texans.
*Eric Scott Jr. was drafted after the Cowboys sent a fifth to the Chiefs to take him with a sixth.
*Trey Lance was acquired by sending a fourth to the Niners.
*Noah Igbinoghene was acquired in a straight-up swap with the Dolphins for Kelvin Joseph.
None of those trade sacrifices were exorbitant. None of those contracts are, either.
The Dallas News, in review of Stephen’s comments, comes away saying that for the Cowboys to engineer a deadline swap, “It just might have to be the perfect deal.” In fact, there is no such thing as a “perfect deal,” and if that’s what the Cowboys are in search of, there will be no movement at the deadline.
There is a different between “the perfect deal” and “the right one.” And we contend there are more opportunities out there than there are obstacles.