One NFL analyst suggests the Dallas Cowboys could be buyers, not sellers, ahead of the November 2 trade deadline. At 4-1, and with control of an NFC East division that has no other teams over .500, that makes some sense.
Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine recently opined that Dallas “should” make a deal for Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden. Ballentine also linked the team to New York Jets safety Marcus Maye and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Michael Brockers. There’s some sense in that, too, as the Cowboys have allowed the fifth-fewest yard rushing this season (397) but the second-most passing yards (1,555).
As Ballentine notes, the Cowboys need improvement at cornerback opposite star Trevon Diggs.
“While Diggs is holding opposing quarterbacks to a 28.4 passer rating, Anthony Brown has given up two touchdowns and a passer rating of 92.4. Jourdan Lewis hasn’t been much better in the slot, giving up a rating of 107.2,” he wrote. “The options on the bench aren’t inspiring either. Maurice Canady has given up a touchdown and 55 yards on just three targets after a phenomenal preseason. Nahshon Wright was drafted as a project.”
The Cowboys have yielded 10 touchdown passes, seventh-worst in the NFL, a continuation of a problem that plagued the team last year, when it allowed 34 (sixth-worst). Faith in the bench options is limited–Wright did play the most snaps of his season last week, 20, but Canady dropped to just seven snaps played.
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Background on Haden
Depth is a need in the defensive backfield and there is some hope that the Steelers could be a source of it. Pittsburgh has been scattered all season, sitting at 2-3, and has Haden in the final year of his contract. Haden had approached the team about an extension in August, according to ESPN, but ultimately decided to test 2022 free agency, when several teams are expected to have significant money.
Agent Drew Rosenhaus told Adam Shefter at that time, “Joe has never been a UFA before and is excited about that opportunity. We expect him to have a very strong market.”
Haden signed a two-year, $22 million extension in 2019. If the market shapes up to be strong enough, the Steelers risk losing him for nothing and thus could be inclined to make a deal.
A three-time Pro Bowler and former second-team All-Pro, Haden established himself among the league’s premier corners during his first seven seasons in Cleveland, who drafted the Florida product with the seventh overall pick in the 2010 draft.
Haden has continued his high-end play amid the last five years in Pittsburgh. Altogether, he’s totaled 487 solo tackles, 151 pass deflections and 29 interceptions across 150 career games, including 141 starts.
“He has allowed a passer rating of 75.9 or less in each of the last three full seasons. His veteran leadership and experience could be the boost the [Cowboys’] secondary needs,” Ballentine wrote of Haden.
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Diggs Sits Out First Week 6 Practice
There should be some worry over how much the Cowboys are asking of Diggs. The Defensive Player of the Year candidate (if not frontrunner) suffered a minor ankle injury in last week’s blowout victory over the New York Giants. Diggs, who finished the game after re-taping his ankle, sat out practice Wednesday as Dallas readies for its upcoming road trip to New England.
“He went through resistance training as he works through an ankle injury that occurred vs. the Giants last week. Not expected to be an issue for Sunday,” ESPN’s Todd Archer reported.
In related news, Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee limped off the practice field with head athletic trainer Jim Maurer — Kazee is “good,” a source told the Dallas Morning News — while S Donovan Wilson returned to practice on a limited basis after battling a groin injury stemming from training camp.
Wilson has not played since the club’s season-opening loss to Tampa Bay.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL