Dallas Cowboys: Trade WR Michael Gallup for CB Stephon Gilmore?

(Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images) /

Consider this: The Dallas Cowboys send WR Michael Gallup and the 10th overall pick in the draft, for CB Stephon Gilmore and New England’s 15th pick. Sound crazy? Allow me to make the case for this mutually beneficial swap…

The Dallas Cowboys are in desperate need of finding a starting cornerback this offseason. Free agency is the quickest way to fill the post, but it’s also the most expensive way. And the NFL Draft is a cheapest way, it comes with one or two seasons of ugly growing pains (CB is a tough transition to the pros).

The trade market, on the other hand, can provide both instant relief and be fairly affordable.

The Dallas Cowboys could package draft position and WR Michael Gallup to get CB Stephone Gilmore.

Stephon Gilmore’s time in New England appears to be coming to an end. The perennial All-Pro is entering the last year on his deal, and with the Patriots retooling, it seems unlikely the 30-year-old cornerback will be coming back.

Similarly, Michael Gallup’s time in Dallas seems to entering its final act as well. The Dallas Cowboys are loaded at receiver and given all the needs elsewhere on the roster, they’ll have a hard time justifying a new contract for a luxury piece like Gallup.

Why this makes sense

In this situation, both teams would be dealing from a position of strength in order to improve a position of weakness. And both teams would be moving an expiring asset they’re unlikely to re-sign anyway.

in 2018 and 2019, Gilmore pulled in a combined eight interceptions, deflecting a staggering 40 passes, and gave up a completion percentage below 50%

The Dallas Cowboys adore Michael Gallup and have no reason to force a trade with him unless it significantly helps the franchise. Adding a top-flight NFL cornerback like Stephon Gilmore would accomplish just that. And Dallas is much more likely to re-sign a CB like Gilmore than they are to re-sign Gallup.

New England has Gilmore under contract for a price of roughly $17 million this year. If Dallas can sign Dak Prescott long-term they can move Dak’s money to the backend and afford to digest Gilmore’s money straight-up. Or they could extend Gilmore right away and push Gilmore’s money back a bit. Either way, the money situation is workable.

Despite all of the trade talk surrounding Gilmore, the Pats don’t NEED to do anything with their disgruntled vet. They also have a budding young star cornerback in Jonathan Jones who was ranked by PFF last year as the fifth best in the NFL. Not to mention they have a glaring need to add a receiver or four this offseason.

Gallup brings New England youth and offensive playmaking ability. Gilmore brings pedigree and, up until last season, elite play and durability. It’s a match made in heaven provided the Dallas Cowboys can sweeten the pot.

both teams would be dealing from a position of strength in order to improve a position of weakness. And both teams would be moving an expiring asset they’re unlikely to re-sign

Even though Michael Gallup’s best days are ahead of him and Stephon’s best are likely behind him, the Cowboys need to make up ground in trade compensation here. Swapping first round picks does that. Regardless of which direction New England wants to go in the draft, Pick 10 is the perfect location for them to get it done.

Elite pass-catchers like DeVonte Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Ja’Mar Chase, and Kyle Pitts are all top-10 talents. Elite CB prospects like Patrick Surtain II and Caleb Farley could be available as well. Even if New England wants to go QB, Pick 10 could be the last affordable spot to find one – whether they’re hoping the last of the top-4 drops, or whether they want to grab Mac Jones who’s widely considered the last QB with first round value. Pick 15 means they have to take what’s been given to them. Pick 10 allows them to go hunting.

Why Stephon Gilmore for the Dallas Cowboys?

Not only is Stephon Gilmore a lockdown cornerback with elite production, but he plays largely alon on an island operating heavily in a single high Cover 1. The transition to Dallas’ single high scheme should be fairly seamless.

Gilmore is coming off a very atypical season where he only played in 11 games and ranked outside the top 11 for the first time since 2016. In fact, his 61.0 grade from PFF put him below Diggs last season.

But in 2018 and 2019, Gilmore was arguably the best in the NFL, pulling in a combined eight interceptions, deflecting a staggering 40 passes, and gave up a completion percentage below 50%. All of which earned him All-Pro honors both years.

Given his contract situation and the state of the Patriots franchise, Gilmore has been in trade talks going back to last season. He even put his house on the market. Unlike New England, Dallas wants to win now and is ready to swing big. They can’t really do that with a rookie CB lining up across from second year pro, Trevon Diggs. They need some veteran stability to lean on as they go back to being a Cover 1/Cover 3 defense.

Draft Positives for the Dallas Cowboys

Trading a playmaker like Michael Gallup isn’t advisable at face value. But given how strong Dallas is on offense, and the dire state of the defense entering 2021, robbing from Peter to pay Paul is an exchange worth making.

It also opens things up for Dallas in the draft.

More from Dallas Cowboys

As we stand now, the Dallas Cowboys are almost required to go defense with their first pick in the draft. Never mind the best player(s) on their board are sure to be offensive players,  they need help on defense. It’s that need that will likely make them do something stupid – like reach or draft a player at a low value defensive position early.

If they move a pass-catcher out and add a starting cornerback like Gilmore, they could be a little more opportunistic with that top pick and snag an elite pass-catcher or an offensive tackle (assuming he’s the best player available). They can do that because they know they covered the hole at CB already with Gilmore.

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Trades don’t happen often in the NFL but this is one that makes some sense for both teams. Both teams upgrade at a position of weakness and both teams get a little more freedom in the NFL Draft.