Proposed Trade Sends Cowboys a Disgruntled $72 Million Former Pro Bowler

Mike McCarthy

Getty Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy faces a decision at running back.

With tensions rising in the Big Apple, the Dallas Cowboys could find a solution for their receiver woes by turning to a rival. New York Giants star receiver Kenny Golladay is playing only 36% of the snaps through the first two weeks of the seasons, including just two plays in Week 2.

This is less than ideal for a receiver whom the Giants inked to a four-year, $72 million contract in 2021 and who has a $13 million salary for this season. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler noted the Giants could be open to trading Golladay, but New York would likely need to eat a good portion of the receiver’s deal to find a suitor.

“The Kenny Golladay situation in New York is far from over,” Fowler wrote on September 21. “When a receiver with a $21.15 million cap hit plays two snaps on Sunday, there’s no coming back from that. This is the classic case of a new regime — GM Joe Schoen, coach Brian Daboll — taking over a contract it wouldn’t have done itself. And when that’s the case, teams look for exit strategies. The Giants didn’t do anything with Golladay’s contract in the preseason because the guarantees hamstrung them. His $13 million salary and $4.5 million roster bonus are locked in. Zero wiggle room.

“But a similar situation unfolded in the New York area a few years ago, with the Jets and Le’Veon Bell. GM Joe Douglas, who didn’t do the Bell deal, decided the Jets were better off paying Bell his $13 million in guarantees to go away, first trying to trade him before releasing him. The difference is Golladay, as an accomplished wide receiver with red zone scoring potential, could have some trade value if the Giants agree to cover most of his salary. Something to watch, because Golladay can’t be satisfied with his role.”

What Would a Trade for Golladay Look Like?

Given Golladay’s bloated deal, the Cowboys would likely only need to send a future day-three pick to the Giants. In this scenario, Dallas would still be pushing for a trade similar to the one Carolina pulled off with Cleveland for Baker Mayfield. The Panthers were able to land Mayfield for a future day-three pick while the Browns paid the majority of the quarterback’s salary.

The Cowboys still have $12.8 million in remaining cap space but were hesitant to spend cash over the offseason. The bigger question for Dallas to answer is whether Golladay’s potential upside would warrant a trade. The receiver posted back-to-back seasons with more than 1,000 yards in 2018 and 2019 while serving as the Lions top offensive option. Golladay’s best season came in 2019 when the wideout posted 65 receptions for 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns in 16 starts, earning a Pro Bowl nomination.

Golladay: ‘I Should Be Playing Regardless’

The challenge is Golladay has not come close to the 1,000 yards mark since 2019. The receiver failed to score a touchdown during his first season with the Giants, notching 37 catches for 521 yards during his 14 appearances in 2021.

There is a reason to think that Golladay would perform better in the Cowboys offense alongside CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. If Dallas can take advantage of a contentious situation in New York, a Golladay trade is worth exploring for the right price. Heading into Week 3, Golladay made his feelings clear that he “should be playing regardless” instead of spending the majority of games on the sideline.

“I really didn’t have a choice, like I said I don’t agree with it [taking a reduced role],” Golladay told reporters on September 21. “I should be playing regardless. … We’re not going to get into all that right now. We’re going into Week 3. We’re going to see how it goes. There’s a lot of football left.”

With Gallup close to returning to the field, the Cowboys receiver depth chart is starting to look less worrisome. It still remains a mystery whether Noah Brown, rookie Jalen Tolbert or another playmaker can emerge as a consistent WR3 next to Lamb and Gallup. The Giants may be hesitant to deal Golladay inside the division but could get desperate enough to move the veteran off the roster if the receiver continues to voice his displeasure.

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