Somehow, even at 2-5 with not one but two quarterbacks sidelined with injuries, the Dallas Cowboys are well within reach of first place in the NFC East. But with the 2020 trade deadline quickly approaching on Nov. 3, it's fair to wonder if the team will look beyond this season, even though owner Jerry Jones recently suggested the 'Boys would likely be buyers rather than sellers. In fact, it's more than fair to wonder, considering Dallas has already informed other teams that defensive end Everson Griffen is available.
A big name in free agency this summer, the 32-year-old Griffen ultimately signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Cowboys to start opposite DeMarcus Lawrence. The longtime Minnesota Vikings standout has been reasonably productive, registering 20 tackles and 2.5 sacks in seven games, but has far less value -- both in the short and long term -- for Dallas if the team's 2020 trajectory continues.
At this point, Griffen probably wouldn't net much in a trade; CBS Sports' Patrik Walker, who confirmed NFL Network's report of Griffen's availability, forecasts little more than a conditional sixth- or seventh-round draft pick in return. That doesn't mean he won't have any suitors. Here's a look at five teams that make sense as landing spots for the edge rusher:
They don't exactly have salary cap space to burn, but they do have a need for more help off the edge, which hasn't been the same since Nick Bosa's injury. The Niners are in maybe the best division in the NFL, and while they just acquired Jordan Willis from the New York Jets, Griffen is a much more proven presence who could immediately slot in opposite Arik Armstead. As you'll notice later in this list, a San Francisco deal for Griffen might also keep the vet out of the hands of an NFC West rival.
The Bills have their own aging defensive end to unload in Trent Murphy, but they'd do well to get an upgrade at the same spot. Sean McDermott's calling card -- defense -- has been largely underwhelming in 2020, and if Buffalo wants to make a serious run in a talented AFC playoff picture, it could use more production off the edge. If, somehow, they're able to dump Murphy and add Griffen on a low-risk deal, it'd be a major win.
Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock just might have been right to stick by Derek Carr, who's having a really underrated year running the offense. But if they want to make any late-season noise in the AFC West and postseason, they need defensive reinforcements. At a predictably low price, Griffen makes all the sense in the world as a plug-and-play rotational piece alongside Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby.
As CBS Sports reported earlier this offseason, the Browns were among initial suitors for Griffen upon the veteran opting out of his Vikings deal and hitting the open market. Cleveland has a premier edge rusher in Myles Garrett, but it's been scouring alternatives to Olivier Vernon for months, and Kevin Stefanski is as familiar with the longtime Viking as anyone. The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to be incredibly hard to stop atop the AFC North, but adding a proven player like Griffen would help Cleveland take a small step forward.
Perhaps losing Jadeveon Clowney hurt them, after all. It's no secret the Seahawks sorely lack defensive play-makers, and the biggest weakness of all is up front, where they've trailed the rest of the league in pressure. Would Griffen solve that? Not by himself. But he'd be one heck of a start, especially for a small price. Throw in the fact Seattle was reportedly a finalist for Griffen before the vet signed with the Cowboys, and you've got yourself a match too good to be true.