Life comes at you fast, and especially when you're an NFL team trying to figure out how to win a Super Bowl. Expectations varied for each of the 32 clubs going into the 2019 season and while some have lived up to them, others are faltering in their efforts. For now, the Dallas Cowboys fall into the category of the latter with a 4-3 record, but there is some renewed optimism in Dallas after the team soundly defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 7.
Things aren't as far gone as they were this time last season for the club, which is to say you shouldn't expect them to consider another Amari Cooper-like move in 2019, but never say never for a team now treading water.
This is especially true if injuries continue to mount, NFL trade deadline is Oct. 29, and there are a few players who could help save the Cowboys day -- and the season as a whole. The team isn't in dire straits at any position specifically, and they're not expected to be big movers this October, but there are at least three names that can't and shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.. The
Not every name you'll read about makes sense for the Cowboys, but these certainly do.
Geno Atkins - Defensive tackle, Bengals
With news of Tyrone Robert Quinn, pressure has not turned into sacks and they've been gashed recently in the run game. A good part of that was due to the absence of starting nose tackle Antwaun Woods, who missed three games with an injury, but others like Maliek Collins have cooled noticeably after blasting off to a stellar start this season. Atkins is an absolute bulldog -- no pun intended -- on the interior line, as seen in his seven Pro Bowl nods and the fact he's been named an All-Pro on three separate occasions., and even before he was, the Cowboys have had issues with their defensive front. Outside of
A tandem of Atkins plus Woods with Quinn and DeMarcus Lawrence on the edges could be devastating to opposing offensive lines, and the good news is he won't cost a first-round pick -- Adams would. Having now been with the unproductive Bengals since 2010, he could be looking for a fresh start and they could be looking to get out from under his contract this season, which makes for a fairly easy compromise of a mid-round pick to absorb the chunky three years remaining on his current deal. , despite readying to pay Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, and to say they need help with their defensive line is an understatement.
If the Cowboys brass is unjustifiably concerned about the cap hit, though, maybe a trade-and-restructure gets it done -- in the same way they did with Quinn this offseason. Yes, they used a second-round pick on Trysten Hill, but Atkins is more than just help. He's an entire cavalry.
Jamal Adams - Safety, Jets
Dak Prescott couldn't complete his pass in the final seconds of the game that would've forced overtime. Instead, it was the Jets landing the upset win, and Texas-bred Adams got in a parting shot at his hometown club. That wasn't the only play Adams impacted, and he's been doing it his entire career since being selected sixth overall by the New York Jets in the 2017 draft. Things might feel a bit better after having landed the first win of the season, but Adams has made it clear how important playing for a winning franchise is to him in the past, and the Jets aren't that -- at least not yet.after being the reason
The Cowboys rightfully refused to overpay for safety Earl Thomas, and passed on an injury-prone Eric Berry in free agency, but Adams offers a different outlook. The All-Pro is young, dynamic, already well-decorated in only two full seasons, and he was raised just minutes northwest of downtown Dallas. Adams is a game-wrecker that would cost a first-round pick, at minimum, but it's occupational malpractice to not pick up the phone and find out the asking price -- if there is one.
Karl Joseph - Safety, Raiders
By now, you're sensing a theme here, in that the Cowboys could do well to bolster their safety unit. Maybe the means shipping out team favorite Jeff Heath via trade to get an asset that would help them package something to the Raiders in exchange for Joseph, but it's something that could be figured out fairly easily if Dallas wants this deal done. They've also established a burgeoning bromance of sorts with the Raiders' front office, and that only greases the wheels for any possible talks on Joseph.
The 26-year-old got off to a strong NFL start and his first three seasons prove he can make plays, but he's seen a downturn in 2019 that could be related to issues with the inconsistency within the Raiders organization -- be it in the win-loss column, coaching message, or a combination of the two. He's not exceedingly far from Heath in talent, and it could be argued the two are neck-and-neck when it comes to getting takeaways. He's statistically almost literally right where Heath was after three years of play, but Joseph is more built to be a consistent starter, whereas Heath excels as a rotational piece.
This feels like a situation where maybe the Cowboys and Raiders simply do a rare player + late-round pick swap, giving both a fresh start -- while reuniting Heath with former Cowboys special teams coach Rich Bisaccia -- and allowing the Cowboys to team Joseph with promising upstart Donovan Wilson at the strong safety position.
Joseph would require a re-signing in 2020, but so would Heath, and the money should go to the younger player with higher upside and more traction remaining on his NFL career.