There is no naïveté on the part of the Dallas Cowboys when it comes to what they need to improve going forward. They were riding high on the hog after starting their 2019 season on a three-game win streak, but that pork went to slaughter during their three-game losing streak that included being embarrassed by the hapless New York Jets.
Having now dismantled the Philadelphia Eagles to end their slide and land at 4-3, and in lone possession of the NFC East coming out of their bye week, some issues they glossed over to start the season have become exposed; and injury to key players have only exacerbated them. Losing veteran defensive end Tyrone Crawford if a bigger blow than most think, and that's why they made the decision -- a player who can both impact the right edge and flex inside as needed.
That solves one issue, and in a big way, but there are still more to address, including the safety position they've been trying to upgrade for a long time now. It began with a failed (and drawn-out) pursuit of Earl Thomas that began in 2018, and then an unsatisfactory physical that led to them passing on Eric Berry before settling on George Iloka, who didn't survive final roster cuts.
Rookie sixth-round pick Donovan Wilson impressed in the preseason, but hasn't yet beat out Jeff Heath at the strong safety position, and the loss of backup Kavon Frazier didn't help the cause at the position. The Cowboys are still looking for a play-maker to tandem with Xavier Woods, and they only have a few hours left to achieve that goal via trade, seeing as the NFL deadline is at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday.
So, is there anything cooking? Yes, but it's not yet reached a boil.
"We don't really have anything on the front burner right now," team exec Stephen Jones said on Friday to 105.3FM the Fan, following the Bennett trade. "It doesn't mean we couldn't have something. I mean, this Michael Bennett deal came quickly, and we pulled a quick trigger and were able to get it done. Certainly if we see something that would improve this team that makes sense for us, we're not limited to just one trade.
"So, we'd certainly do that."
In other words, they're open for business and making calls, but to whom, for whom and at what asking price remains a mystery.
Don't expect a blockbuster trade by any measure from the Cowboys, though, because they're a draft-happy team that isn't keen on sending away more premium picks after having given up their first-round pick in 2019 to land Amari Cooper. While that decision worked like gangbusters for them, owner Jerry Jones was also very vocal about how tough it was to sit out of the first round altogether and watch young, inexpensive and impactful talent get snatched up by other clubs.
The trade for Bennett is much more their speed in 2020, but never say never, because the right call could change everything.
"I wouldn't rule anything out," S. Jones furthered. "When we look at the player at the end of the day, it's just does he upgrade us. Is the upgrade worth, one, the cap space, and, two, the draft picks to make it happen? Those are the things that go into determining whether we want to pursue a player or not."
Jerry Jones took it one step further in speaking with 105.3FM The Fan on Tuesday, openly admitting there are possible trade moves they're mulling ahead of the deadline. Does that mean they'll look at Jamal Adams to instantly upgrade the safety position? Or a behemoth like Geno Atkins to take their run defense to another level? , and to acquire one of them, but the price of either will likely be too rich for the Cowboys blood.
Until the clock hits 4 p.m. ET, though, don't rule anything out completely.
"We're always looking," the elder Jones said. " ... Let's say we have consideration in the mill. We're giving it thought, but this is when you do it. This is the deadline that everyone needs to push back against.
"To that end, anything's possible."