Despite a talented roster, the Dallas Cowboys, once again, failed to reach the Super Bowl. Here are three galaxy brain trades the Cowboys could make to shake up their core.
Over the last decade, the team has had tremendous talent on both sides of the football, but that has not translated into postseason success.
Entering this offseason, it would be wise to shake up the roster. Here are three creative trades that would benefit the Cowboys.
Cowboys galaxy brain trade No. 1: Ezekiel Elliott to the Broncos
WR Tim Patrick
RB Ezekiel Elliott
Elliott is a popular trade candidate this offseason. Last season, Tony Pollard was the team’s leading rusher with 1,007 yards. He also averaged an efficient 5.2 yards per carry, which was the third-highest among running backs.
Elliott has been a vital piece to the Cowboys’ success in recent years, but his $16.72 million cap number exceeds his current value to the franchise. Pollard is more than capable of serving as the lead back, and Elliott averaged a career-low 3.8 yards per carry last season.
Trading Elliott sounds simple, but some projected returns may be unrealistic. Elliott plays the position with the lowest longevity in the sport. He will be entering his eighth season and has logged over 1,800 career carries. Most importantly, his $16.72 million cap hit will be the highest among all NFL running backs this season, and he has four years left on his current deal. Receiving a mid-round pick is unrealistic. 24-year-old James Robinson, who rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2020, carried a $546,946 cap hit, and he netted the Jacksonville Jaguars only a sixth-round pick.
In reality, the Cowboys’ best trade options may be “distressed” assets. Players who are on sizeable contracts but carry risk. Of the several potential options, this trade makes the most sense for both sides. The Denver Broncos have a lot invested in winning now, and running back Javonte Williams could be out “well into the 2023 season”, according to ESPN’s Jeff Legwold. Without Williams, the Broncos’ run game took a step back last season. They were 21st in the NFL in rushing yards per game. In this scenario, they roll the dice on Elliott, who has the potential to make an immediate impact.
Conversely, Tim Patrick is coming off an ACL injury. He has two years left on his current deal. He will carry an $11 million cap hit in 2023 and a $13 million cap hit in 2024. Prior to the injury, Patrick was a solid option, posting back-to-back seasons of 700+ receiving yards. Nevertheless, he is potentially expendable for the Broncos, if they hold onto both Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. They also have a few intriguing young receivers in KJ Hamler, Jalen Virgil, and Brandon Johnson.
Trading for Patrick, while his value is low, could be a worthwhile risk for the Cowboys. It would allow Pollard to take on a larger role, and Patrick could be an excellent third receiver behind CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. In addition, they would save money in the long term.