Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones put the kibosh on a possible blockbuster in which the team surrenders significant draft capital and/or star talent, uprooting the foundation he hand-built across the last half-decade.
“I feel very strongly that we’ve got a core of really outstanding players in the NFL. It hadn’t been but a month or six weeks ago that it was the unanimous thought around the NFL. We got a lot of tread on the tire left on most of those key players,” Jones said Friday on 105.3 The Fan. “I love what’s inside (DeMarcus) Lawrence, I love what’s inside Jaylon Smith. Man, do I like what’s inside (La’el) Collins, Tyron Smith and (Zack) Martin. So when you take and put where we’re expending our dollars talent wise, or what’s inside them, and the tread they’ve got left on the tire, I love our core base.”
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Buyers or Sellers?
It’s unclear where Dallas leans over the next 96 hours. Jones said he’s likelier to add a player — “generally, eyes wide open” — but instead initiated a fire sale, trading Pro Bowl pass-rusher Everson Griffen to the Detroit Lions on Tuesday and releasing nose tackle Dontari Poe and defensive back Daryl Worley on Wednesday.
“You make mistakes. You move on,” Jones said Wednesday evening. “We’re moving on, but by no means are we giving up.”
Despite losing two straight games and as many starting quarterbacks, the 2-5 Cowboys are very much alive in the shockingly bad NFC East and can stake a division lead with a victory over the hated Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night. This appears to be influencing Jones’ mindset, keeping a championship-aspirational club in distinct win-now mode.
Which is typical Jerry, of course. He grabbed headlines at the 2018 midseason point, trading a first-round choice to the Raiders for wide receiver Amari Cooper. The following year, the Cowboys acquired veteran defensive end Robert Quinn from the Miami Dolphins at the cost of a 2020 sixth-rounder. Jones double-dipped at the 2019 deadline, shipping a conditional 2021 seventh-round selection to the New England Patriots in exchange for DE Michael Bennett.
No NFL shot-caller revels in wheeling-and-dealing quite like the Cowboys’ czar. And while Jones won’t surrender his entire draft cabinet or a perennial All-Pro such as Zack Martin, with nearly $30 million in available salary cap room, signs continue to suggest he hasn’t executed his final splash of 2020.
“A few things [are still] in play,” team VP Stephen Jones admitted in a Friday radio interview.
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Gallup Not on Block
As Jones ponders his ensuing move, WR Michael Gallup is one commodity he reportedly is “not willing” to part with. Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News was given a “short but straightforward response” by a team official when asked this week about trading the third-year wide receiver ahead of Tuesday’s deadline. His source’s retort “clearly closed the door on the notion, dismissing the possibility out of hand,” Gehlken wrote.
This idea took root after Gallup was held to zero catches on two targets last week at Washington, his lowest output across three NFL seasons. He’s fallen well short of expectations following a 2019 breakout in which Gallup produced 1,107 yards and six touchdowns on 66 catches (113 targets). He’s topped 100 yards only once in 2020, with 19.5 yards per reception and one TD on 19 grabs.
Gallup, a 2018 third-round draft pick, is still only 24 and under contract for peanuts — $750,000 this season and $920,000 in 2021, his walk year. He’s already proven at the NFL level and displayed tremendous chemistry with Prescott, particularly on deep balls. For all those reasons, but mostly financial, this “makes the Cowboys less inclined to move him,” Gehlken reported.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL