Proposed Trade Sees Cowboys Unload Ex-No. 3 Overall Draft Pick

Mike McCarthy

Getty Cowboys DE Dante Fowler could be a potential trade target.

The Dallas Cowboys could be looking to unload a former highly-touted draft pick.

As noted by Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine, the one of the trade targets that the Las Vegas Raiders should target is none other than linebacker Dante Fowler. Ballentine argues that the Raiders need help when it comes to rushing the passer, with Maxx Crosby the only player having registered a sack so far this season.

While Fowler has impressed in his first two games as a Cowboys, he’s been limited in snaps due to his role as a situational pass-rusher (24 percent of defensive snaps). Dallas’ abundance of pass-rushers could make Fowler expendable for a draft pick.

“The 28-year-old showcased his utility as a rotational pass-rusher, but the truth is the Cowboys have an abundance of them,” says Ballentine. “Micah Parsons continues to be a game-wrecker when playing on the edge, while DeMarcus Lawrence and Dorance Armstrong are seeing more snaps than Fowler as well.Chauncey Golston and Sam Williams were right behind.

So, while Fowler has been a good addition for the Cowboys, he might be worth more as a future draft pick.”

Cowboys Superb When It Comes to Rushing the Passer

Ballentine has a valid point. While the Cowboys have been far from impressive during their 1-1 start, their pass rush has been their lone bright spot early on in the season. According to Pro Football Focus, Dallas has posted an 80.7 pass-rushing grade this season, ranking second in the league. By comparison, the Raiders have posted a 60.6 defensive grade, ranking 25th in the league.

Fowler has had an up-and-down career despite being a former highly-touted No. 3 overall draft pick. The 28-year-old once posted 11.5 sacks during the 2019 season with the Los Angeles Rams, but he’s posted just 7.5 combined sacks over the past two seasons. Outside of his eight-sack campaign in 2017, Fowler hasn’t posted above 4.5 sacks in any other season.

Considering the Raiders appear to be desperate for a legitimate pass-rushing presence opposite of Crosby — six-time Pro Bowler Khalil Mack departed in the offseason — it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Las Vegas pull off such a trade. The Raiders are currently 0-2 and need a spark if they don’t want to fall behind rival AFC West teams led by Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Russell Wilson.

Fowler Was Actually on Roster Bubble During Preseason

It actually wasn’t too long ago that Fowler was projected as a surprise preseason cut by some observers due to the Cowboys’ bloated depth chart when it comes their front seven.

“Dallas could certainly roll with six DEs, but if they need depth elsewhere, the decision might come down to which veteran looks to be more valuable between these two guys,” K.D. Drummond of Cowboys Wire wrote on August 12. Both [Fowler Jr. and DE Tarell Basham] come with a significant dead money penalty of at least $1 million (Basham: $1.25 million). From a glass-half full perspective, cutting either would result in at least $1.75 million worth of savings.”

With the Cowboys possessing an abundance of resources along their front seven, Dallas could capitalize on Fowler while he has some market value — he’s coming off of a strip-sack of Joe Burrow in the Cowboys’ recent win over the Cincinnati Bengals — before the trade deadline hits on Nov. 1.

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