Free agency is close to starting. We're fresh out of the combine. This is the time for wild conjecture and rampant speculation. Also, I annually do a veteran quarterback trade in my mock draft, one that actually kind of makes some sense, or at least creates some kind of thought exercise, and I annually do it around the combine.
The time has arrived to trade Dak Prescott.
Why not? The Cowboys have decided, for some reason, not to invest heavily in Dak. Mike McCarthy said at the NFL combine Dallas is "" with respect to Dak's deal, which is just not true. Decoding what coaches and GMs say at the combine,
McCarthy also referred to Dak's situation as "a business matter," and he's not wrong about that part. It's not personal. But the reality of the business here is the Cowboys didn't pay Dak when they should and now they're going to need to give him $35 million per year or more if they want to sign him.
So that begs the question: should the Cowboys attempt to trade Dak? They don't have to put him on the trade market to make it happen. Instead, they could put the non-exclusive franchise tag on Prescott, which would allow every other NFL team to negotiate with Prescott and then give the Cowboys the right to match any offer sheets or receive two first-round picks for Prescott if they decided not to match.
On a recent edition of the Pick Six Podcast, I posed the question as to whether or not my colleagues John Breech and Sean Wagner-McGough would give up Dak for a pair of first-round picks. Breech, a Bengals fan at heart (making this discussion particularly interesting), said he would give up Dak "in a heartbeat" if he was the Cowboys.
"Two first round picks? Yeah. This year, with all those quarterbacks on the free agent market so I can go out and sign who I want, plus I have two first round picks, yeah I would do it," Breech pointed out.
Sean and I disagreed -- I don't think I would give him up.
But, because I'm kind of obsessed with the idea of the Cowboys giving Dak the non-exclusive franchise tag and then seeing what someone would offer him, I asked La Canfora on Thursday's show if he would do the move and he agreed with Breech wholeheartedly.
If Miami is willing to give up No. 5 and No. 18, the Cowboys pull the trigger and go sign a free agent. If you're Miami, you do that right? Two picks -- probably less than the cost of getting Tua in a trade up -- and you land Dak. You can hand him $40 million and get down to the business of building out your roster. I know the new "Moneyball" is having a QB on a rookie deal, but it's way more important to have a good quarterback.
The Dolphins can guarantee they've got a 26-year-old franchise quarterback, albeit one who is expensive. Let the Cowboys figure out how to rebuild at the position. This deal won't happen, because Jerry Jones loves Dak too much, having "found" him in the draft. But it's fun to imagine. Let's gooooo.
The NFL combine is over, so who were the biggest winners and losers? Ryan Wilson joins Will Brinson to break it all down, size up the first post-combine mock draft and more. Listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
Alright, let's get to it.
Round 1 - Pick 1
Joe Burrow QB
LSU • Sr • 6'4" / 215 lbs
To be honest, I thought about trading Dak to the Bengals. But having the top pick and just taking Burrow makes more sense than giving up multiple first round picks, especially when one could be high again next year.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Chase Young EDGE
Ohio State • Sr • 6'5" / 264 lbs
Here's the tricky part of this Cowboys thing: if Dallas wants to move up and grab Tua, they probably aren't going to be able to do it with Washington, their hated rival. So the Redskins can just hang tight and grab the best defensive player in the draft.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Clemson • Sr • 6'4" / 238 lbs
WWBBD? (What Would Bill Belichick Do?) He would grab the most versatile defensive player in the draft and unleash him at all three levels against opposing offenses. We have to assume Matt Patricia will do the same.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Mekhi Becton OL
Louisville • Sr • 6'7" / 363 lbs
Did you SEE this dude? He looks like Andy Reid in Punt, Pass and Kick out there playing football with other people. Dave Gettleman loves big bodies and no one is bigger than Becton, with the added bonus of it happening at a position of need for the Giants.
Mock Trade from Miami Dolphins
Round 1 - Pick 5
Alabama • Sr • 6'1" / 227 lbs
The Cowboys could totally trade up. It would make sense. But I'm just not sure anyone is flying up the draft board -- at least to No. 2 or No. 3 -- to get Tua, outside of the Chargers. I'm fine with a move up if it involves packaging No. 5 and No. 18, but I think they would at least try and bluff their way to Tua at fifth overall first. It worked here!
Round 1 - Pick 6
Jordan Love QB
Utah State • Sr • 6'4" / 219 lbs
Not a Justin Herbert fan here, but I do think the Chargers are kind of rebooting and need to get a young quarterback, so I'll roll with the trendy thing and give them Jordan Love. I've covered the NFL for 10+ years and have seen QBs overdrafted every single year. Stop being so surprised when it happens.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Jeff Okudah CB
Ohio State • Sr • 6'1" / 202 lbs
Lot of different directions Carolina could go here. I wouldn't rule out offensive line even after the Russell Okung trade and with Greg Little/Taylor Moton on the roster. Thought about defensive line. But getting Okudah is a massive win for a team sitting at seventh.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Iowa • Sr • 6'5" / 320 lbs
The Cardinals are in a great spot here if they want to protect Kyler Murray. There's a ton of top-tier offensive line talent, it's their biggest need, and they have a top-10 pick. I wouldn't blame them for taking a receiver but they've got lots of young talent there right now.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Javon Kinlaw DL
South Carolina • Sr • 6'5" / 319 lbs
The Jaguars might need to include this pick in any Nick Foles trade, or they could take another defensive player who will break out before being traded/getting into a contract dispute with them in three or four years.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Georgia • Sr • 6'5" / 315 lbs
Lovely situation here for Cleveland, and they hope it plays out like this, because they badly need offensive line help to keep Baker Mayfield upright. This could change, obviously, after free agency.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Jerry Jeudy WR
Alabama • Sr • 6'1" / 193 lbs
Mike Mayock likes big school prospects, and Jeudy is pretty dang clean. As a refined route-runner who can move around, he's perfect in Jon Gruden's system. Waiting until the second round for a receiver would be fine, but there's a good chance Jeudy isn't a miss here.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Auburn • Sr • 6'5" / 320 lbs
The Colts will do backflips to land Brown here (or Kinlaw, either one) and although I kind of wanted to give them a wideout to pair with presumed addition Philip Rivers, it makes more sense to improve their defense further.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Trevon Diggs CB
Alabama • Sr • 6'2" / 195 lbs
The Broncos have lost some players on defense so it stands to reason they'd want to continue to improve the secondary even after the A.J. Bouye trade, especially with Chris Harris' departure imminent.
Mock Trade from Miami Dolphins
Round 1 - Pick 18
Round 1 - Pick 22
Tee Higgins WR
Clemson • Sr • 6'4" / 219 lbs
Buffalo has to hate their draft spot because it means they can't get whatever wideout they want -- don't rule out a trade up. But Higgins pairs nicely with John Brown and Cole Beasley for Josh Allen.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Yetur Gross-Matos EDGE
Penn State • Sr • 6'5" / 265 lbs
I'm operating under the assumption that if the Pats brought back Tom Brady they handled improving his pass catchers in free agency. A run-stopping pass rusher is right up Bill Belichick's alley.
Round 1 - Pick 27