Can the Cowboys Trade for Offensive Line Help?


Part 2: Trading Fringe Players for other Fringe Players

On Thursday we discussed the depth at WR that the Cowboys currently have in the article, The Cowboys Battle At WR: Who Stays and Who Goes

We established the Cowboys have many intriguing but largely unproven options at WR. To reach the mandatory 53 man roster requirements Dallas will need to cut some very good players. We have since proceeded to profile some the Receivers in the battle here: Anthony Armstrong , Cole Beasley, Jared Green, and Danny Coale.

SportDFW reader jrcowboy49 then proposed the following question regarding the WR depth,

"How about trading a WR for an OG? SF and Philly need WRs."

Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) breaks a huddle in the first quarter in Super Bowl XLVII against the Baltimore Ravens at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a great question to ask because it’s a logical way to solve a common problem. All around the NFL teams have identified their strengths and weaknesses and are stressing over how to best solve their problems.

So why don’t all teams make deals in mutually beneficial trades?

We broke this into 2 parts. Yesterday, in Part 1 we looked at high-profile proven player trades (trading a starting WR for a starting OG) here: Can the Cowboys Trade for OL Help? Today we will look at low-level trades (trading a fringe player for another fringe player).

The question again: Can the Cowboys trade some of their depth at WR for help at OG?

Yes, but it’s still pretty unlikely. Scouting in the NFL is intense. Competing teams know almost as much about the players than the players’ own team. Because of that, it’s really hard to keep secrets in today’s NFL. I guarantee you the Dallas Cowboys are following some of the deeper teams very closely. They are keeping an eye on their rosters and have specific players targeted in case they are cut.

Aug 9, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) in the huddle\ during the first quarter against the New England Patriots at Lincoln Financial Field. The Patriots defeated the Eagles 31-22. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Teams run 53-man roster projections on each other too. They know who will probably make it, who is a fringe player, and who will probably be let go in final cuts. That means if the Cowboys think another team has good depth at OG and figures a strong likelihood that some of that depth will be cut, they will be unlikely to trade for the player. Basically because he’s going to be free anyways.  But if the Cowboys project the fringe player to make the other team’s roster then the Cowboys would be more likely to try to make a deal.

The problem the Cowboys have with their depth, is it is largely unproven, therefore the Cowboys have very few valuable (and yet tradable) assets. Of course their top-end talent is valuable but the Cowboys would never really consider it.

Look at their WR depth specifically: Dez Bryant is both the present and the future so he’s not being traded.

Miles Austin, we discussed in Part 1. He may be tradable but because of his injury history and his large contract he’s probably overvalued by Dallas and undervalued by nearly everyone else. If he was traded it would be for an aging OG with game experience but some major flaws.

Terrance Williams is the newest draft pick therefore he’s not realistically on the market.

Dwyane Harris is no proven commodity either. He has value but it will be for an equally raw and unproven OG that may never develop. This now leads us to the true fringe players at WR for the Dallas Cowboys. Remember, other teams are following the Cowboys roster closely. They know Dallas has to cut some good WR’s and they know it could be any of the remaining players (other than the 4 we just discussed). Those teams may be perfectly content just waiting to see who is cut rather than trade for a player Dallas may cut anyway.

This is why even trading unknown players for other unknown players is rare. The Cowboys best chance (other than signing Brian Waters) is to wait for final roster cuts and scoop up someone else’s discards.  Not too glamorous, huh? But the Cowboys have many good relationships around the league. They have been given a call before if a team was cutting a player they thought could do well with the Cowboys (aka Laurent Robinson).

Aug 8, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; The San Diego Chargers offensive line during a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jody Gomez-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t get me wrong, a low-level trade is still possible. Like jrcowboy49 mentioned – Philly and San Fran need help at WR. The team I’d like to add to that list is the San Diego Chargers who have lost both starting receivers (Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander) to knee injuries. Alexander is done for the year and results are pending for Floyd.

Here are a couple players from the teams mentioned above in need of WR help:

San Diego Chargers Rich Ohrnberger : Click on his name for a full bio but in a nutshell he’s a former 4th round pick who isn’t dominant but versatile enough to play either guard spot or center. Think of a more talented (but more injury prone Phil Costa) Also a cool personality for what it’s worth…

San Francisco 49ers Al Netter: Click his name for a good write-up from Netter is a dependable player who thrives in a man blocking scheme. He is big and strong but lacks speed and has slow feet.  He’s a true fringe player who will have a tough time making it on a team boasting one of the best O-lines in the NFL. Sadly, he was arrested for DUI earlier in the year making him a somewhat risky pick-up.

Philadelphia Eagles Matt Kopa: I hate the depth on the Eagles. They have some decent starters but beyond them everyone else scares me. With that said, so does the depth on the Dallas Cowboys so maybe it wouldn’t hurt to try! Kopa’s best quality isn’t really his play but rather his versatility. He can play RT or Guard…just not very well…


The most mind boggling thing in all of this is even the most novice of Cowboy fan knew the Cowboys had a huge issue at offensive line this offseason, and yet the Cowboys did very little to deal with it.

The Offensive Line (and Guard specifically) could singlehandedly ruin the 2013 season if a solution isn’t found. Whether that’s a player stepping up in camp, a miracle trade, or an elderly free agent acquisition – somethings gotta give.

So jrcowboy49, I hope that helped answer your question/suggestion. Thanks for the comments and I encourage you and everyone else to chip in with comments, questions, requests. Sport D/FW loves to work with you all!

Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports? Email Reid at You may be included in the next weekly mailbag. Follow Reid on twitter @ReidDHanson