The Dallas Cowboys have been making headlines for all the right reasons this offseason. They’ve added multiple top players to fill multiple top weaknesses. Using the trade market they’ve they’ve been able to find instant solutions with veteran players.
They’ve managed to keep all of their top picks but still filled all of their top holes on the roster. Stephon Gilmore immediately slides into CB2 and Brandin Cooks takes over WR2 on Day 1. While these problems could have been solved in free agency in the traditional manner, traditional comes at a cost.
The Dallas Cowboys saved money and theoretically compensatory picks by trading rather than signing.
If the Dallas Cowboys had signed top free agents to fill their two most troubling areas it would have resulted in two things:
- A ton more money
- A mark against them on the comp pick formula
Generally speaking, compensatory picks are draft picks awarded to teams that lose more free agents than they gain. Quality is factored in and extra Day 3 picks are gained to teams who sit at a net negative. Throughout the years, the Dallas Cowboys have ranked as a top team (No. 2) in compensatory picks awarded because they typically do very little in the first few phases of free agency.
Traded players come with yesterday’s market prices and they come with only a portion of the total years remaining on their deals.
In this hyperactive flurry of activity the Cowboys have managed to add new players to their roster without hurting their comp pick situation. A player added via trade doesn’t count against them so in addition to getting these players they can also look at it like they’ll be getting a comp pick later for them down the road when they leave. At no point to count as a red mark against them.
Money is also a factor (with this front office it will always be a factor). Free agents are expensive. They inherently earn market rates for their services and they also often come with a multiyear commitment.
Traded players come with yesterday’s market prices and they come with only a portion of the years remaining on their deals. For a money focused team, what’s not to like?
Trades are an undervalued avenue to improve a roster in the NFL. While other sports use the trade market quite frequently, the NFL has always been apprehensive towards it. Things could be changing and the Dallas Cowboys could be leading the charge. Trades don’t have to come at a high cost and in Dallas’ most recent examples, they have the potential to pay out right now and again down the road.