Proposed Cowboys Trade Brings Colts Star WR to Dallas: ‘Game-Changer’

Jerry Jones

Getty Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones walks the field before an NFL game.

The Dallas Cowboys are heading into the 2023 offseason with some areas of need, and an Indianapolis Colts star could be a new injection of energy on offense.

With head coach Mike McCarthy taking over the offensive playcalling, it’s reasonable to expect some big changes for the Cowboys in 2023. But no matter the tactics, it feels apparent that Dallas needs a new receiver.

Enter Michael Pittman Jr. The 25-year-old receiver has been making waves since joining Indianapolis in the 2020 NFL draft, but the results from the Colts have led to multiple different quarterbacks and the hiring of a new head coach in 2023.

From the Cowboys’ perspective, this is an opportunity to add a massive presence opposite of WR CeeDee Lamb, and to do it for a relatively cheap cost. Of course, it does depend on both the Colts and Pittman wanting a move to happen as well.

If the Colts aren’t planning on handing Pittman a second contract after the 2023 season, they can get a head start on their rebuild with a draft pick package from Dallas. There’s certainly a scenario where a trade could be a win-win situation, with the Cowboys getting a game-changer on offense.

Pittman Performs Despite QB Issues with Colts

When looking at Pittman’s first three seasons in the NFL, it’s hard not to feel some sympathy and respect for his output. Phillip Rivers helped lead the Colts to an 11-5 record in Pittman’s rookie season in 2020, but the former USC star has seen a revolving door of ineffective passers since.

Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, Sam Ehlinger and Nick Foles have all started games in the past two seasons. What’s possibly most impressive about Pittman is that he has caught 187 passes for 2007 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns during that time, according to PFR.

Producing at that level in the Colts’ situation is impressive alone, but the true story is in his yards per reception. Pittman’s career 11.1 yards per catch seems low, but with several quarterbacks in the mix and a 6’4″, 223-pound frame, it points to one thing: Indy has not been able to get the ball to Pittman downfield.

While at USC, the 25-year-old averaged 14.7 yards per catch and was much more of a “deep threat” rather than a short-yardage option. The Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott could tap into that in a dangerous way.

What a Trade Would Look Like for Cowboys

When weighing up a trade, Pittman’s past two seasons have established him as a high-end receiver at the NFL level. Dallas could add a high-potential player in the draft, but trading for Pittman is far less risky than betting on a new rookie.

Plus, Pittman would be able to play for a season under his rookie contract, costing an affordable $2.99 million per Spotrac. The Cowboys could then pay him or franchise tag him heading into 2024, which would be the perfect time to move on from Michael Gallup after the remainder of his guaranteed money is paid out in 2023.

A trade would ideally not send the Cowboys’ first-round pick in 2023, but even sending the 26th overall pick seems like a fine value for someone who has produced at Pittman’s level in a difficult situation.