Dallas Cowboys: Can Sheldon Richardson save the pass rush?

Dec 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson (91) sacks New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. New York Jets defeat the New England Patriots 26-20 in OT. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson (91) sacks New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. New York Jets defeat the New England Patriots 26-20 in OT. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys are a young, up-and-coming team, but trading for an elite player will take them to another level.

The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a surprising 13-3 season with a boatload of talent on the offensive side of the ball, and promising talent on the other side.

In last month’s draft, the Cowboys addressed several defensive needs by drafting ball-hawking defensive backs, a decent pass rusher, and a shifty, speedy wide receiver. In other words, the Cowboys upgraded their defense and made its offense more than lethal.

With everything in place to compete at a very high level next season, and with expectations to go deep into the playoffs, the Cowboys still need another legit player to bank on, someone to get them over the hump.

The only way the Cowboys can find that player is to make a trade. It’s that simple, nothing more and nothing less. The Cowboys have to find this playmaker and make it happen.

I’m sure you’re wondering why Dallas should seek a trade after addressing all of  its defensive needs in the draft? The answer is quite simple. Dallas needs a dynamic game changer on its defensive line.

Or a defensive stud who is an upgrade from whats on its current roster, someone who will make everyone better because they require double teams.

Yes, I like the makeup of Dallas’ defensive line, and see promising potential in players like Benson Mayowa, Cedric Thornton, Maliek Collins, Demarcus Lawrence (hopefully), rookie Taco Charlton, Charles Tapper, Damontre Moore, and David Irving.

David Irving

In due time, some of those players are going to be household names, especially Irving. But Irving might not be showcase his talents and duplicate last season’s success because he’s facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. This report came from NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport.

Every year Dallas loses players to suspensions because of some violation. However, that’s a debate for another time. In the meantime, losing Irving is another reason why Dallas needs to seek a trade for a defensive lineman.

During the 2016 season, Irving tallied four sacks, forced four fumbles, had one fumble recovery, and recorded 12 solo tackles while playing defensive end and playing the interior. Those numbers aren’t gaudy numbers, but it’s a decent start and an indication of good things to come.

Sheldon Richardson

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has big hopes for Irving. But with his pending suspension, Dallas needs to seek a trade, and Sheldon Richardson of the New York Jets would be a good player to trade for.

Richardson is a good  defensive lineman, to say the least.  Standing 6’3 and weighing in at 294 lbs, the massive defensive tackle will command a double team, freeing up others to get to the quarterback, and clogging up the middle.

Plus, Richardson has 18 career sacks, 142 tackles, and five forced fumbles in 58 games.

Last season wasn’t Richardson’s best as he recorded only 1.5 sacks and 38 tackles. Richardson’s lack of production can be attributed to him serving his second suspension in a two year span, and getting benched for missing team meetings.

However, without any negative distractions on his part, Richardson is a really good player that produces, and that is something Dallas currently needs at the moment. Besides, the New York Jets were looking for trade partners during the draft.

The Jets would likely receive a middle round compensatory pick if Richardson left via free agency, so Dallas would probably have to pony up a mid-round pick for Richardson’s services. If so, then they need to make this trade like yesterday.

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The Missing Link

Back in 1992, then head coach Jimmy Johnson traded for troubled, super gifted pass rusher Charles Haley from the San Francisco 49ers. Literally, Haley was the missing link for Dallas. Needless to say, Haley is one of the primary reasons why Dallas won three Super Bowls in four years.

Even with a roster loaded with young talent, Johnson knew he needed a player of Haley’s ilk to take Dallas to the next level.

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Because at the time, Dallas was supposed to be a year or two away from taking the reigns from the 49ers as the best team in the NFC, but Dallas defeated the 49ers that year in the 1992 NFC championship game.

The rest is history.

Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones need to revisit history and do the exact same thing. This current Dallas team is similar to the ’92 team, a young, talented group missing a dynamic defensive player. In no way am I suggesting Richardson is on the level of Haley, a Hall of Famer.

But you’d agree that Richardson is a really good player that can help this team get to the next level and provide another defensive weapon for Marinelli to use.

Richardson would be an immediate upgrade for the defense.

Speaking of a trade, the younger Jones is on board for a trade. This is what Stephen had to say to Nick Eatman of Dallascowboys.com when asked about the $5 million dollars that will hit Dallas’ salary cap because of Tony Romo‘s release.

"“The money frees them up to sign or trade for a veteran if needed,” Stephen said. “I will say this, we’re not strapped to the point where we couldn’t do something. You never know when a trade might pop up.”"

If America’s Team wants to hoist another Lombardi trophy, it needs to pop up a trade right now for Richardson.

Next: Dallas Cowboys pass- rush is among the worst in the NFL

Dallas can follow Johnson’s blueprint and make a trade for a player that will win them a few Lombardi trophies. Or they can continue to have nightmares chasing Aaron Rodgers on 3rd and 20 and lose by a field goal.