With a 6-2 record, the Dallas Cowboys appear to be a team on the verge of postseason relevance if not possible Super Bowl relevance. Yet, their actions off the field appear to be telling fans something different.
With the NFL’s trade deadline expiring on Tuesday, the Cowboys had an opportunity to improve their roster. And yes, even despite their stellar record, Dallas needed to upgrade their depth chart to try and keep up in the most competitive division in the league.
In fact, the Cowboys currently rank second in the NFC East with the 6-2 New York Giants right on their tails and the 7-0 Philadelphia Eagles atop the standings as the NFL’s only undefeated team.
The Cowboys do understand the importance of addressing needs via trade. Just last week they acquired defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins from the Las Vegas Raiders to address their ailing rushing defense.
And that’s the reason Dallas elected to release veteran defensive tackle Trysten Hill on Tuesday. A former second-round selection, Hill started in just five games over his four years with the Cowboys, only recording 0.5 sack in that same span.
According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, two sources told him the Cowboys and the Houston Texans were in trade talks for wide receiver Brandin Cooks. But they were unable to reach a deal before the deadline.
So, if this report is true, Dallas knows they have a pressing need at wide receiver and could use the upgrade. Yet, they were unwilling to mortgage too much of their future, either through draft picks and/or salary cap, in order to do so.
While making a move for the sake of simply doing so is always inadvisable, those team needs remain. And while Dallas could always decide to address those needs via free agency, the opportunity to acquire talent already on an NFL roster has now passed. And the Cowboys have limited themselves to a small pool of players who are currently unemployed for one reason or another.
The fact the Cowboys did not make another trade at the deadline is not what is frustrating. It’s the fact Dallas seems to have a habit of waiting until the very last minute hoping the other party will acquiesce to their demands and on their terms. And when it predictably doesn’t work out, which it usually doesn’t, they find themselves wanting and with limited options. And that’s exactly where they find themselves now.
While the Cowboys will undoubtedly say they believe in “their guys”, their reported actions at the deadline indicate they know they needed to improve. Still, the method Dallas uses to negotiate deals now leaves them without little recourse. And while names like free agent wide receivers Will Fuller and Odell Beckham Jr. might still be available without having to give up draft compensation, the Cowboys missed their opportunity to upgrade from a much bigger pool of players who are actually in the NFL.
In the end, the Dallas Cowboys might have made a trade at the deadline after all. They may have traded away a chance at their first Super Bowl appearance since 1995 in order to save salary cap room next year and a second round draft pick. Seems fair … and very typical of this team.