Because it’s the offseason, Bleacher Report devised the most “absurd” trade possible for the Dallas Cowboys — a deal that would send Los Angeles Rams superstar defensive lineman Aaron Donald to the Lone Star State.
Feeling silly yet?
You’re about to.
BR’s Chris Roling projected Donald to Dallas in exchange for a 2021 first-round pick, 2022 first-round pick, and a 2022 second-rounder. Roling writes:
Donald is the NFL’s best defender and led the league with 20.5 sacks in 2018. He’s put up 85.5 sacks over 110 career games, which is an absurd number for an interior player. One of the best comparisons could be when the San Francisco 49ers shipped DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for the No. 13 pick and some cap wiggle room. Donald, understandably, would eclipse even that asking price.
The Rams could also use some wiggle room once the Matthew Stafford trade becomes official, considering it projects to put them $25 million in the red. Such a deal would also net a premium pick. Otherwise, they won’t pick until outside the top 50 on draft day.
The Cowboys are a natural fit after the defense’s historic ineptitude last year and given the win-now status of the Jerry Jones-led club, provided it gets Dak Prescott back under contract. Adding Donald would be one way to jump-start a revamp and match the Super Bowl-ready offense.
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It’s fun to fantasize and dream on February 13, the calm before several roster-altering storms, including NFL free agency and the draft. But that’s all Cowboys fans can do in relation to Donald, who’s likelier to retire with the Rams than change hats during his future Hall-of-Fame career.
First, the financials: The three-time Defensive Player of the Year, he of the $135 million contract, carries a prohibitive $27.892 million salary-cap number for 2021. Los Angeles would incur a $16 million dead-money charge by moving the 30-year-old prior to June 1. Realistically (which defeats the purpose of this exercise), neither the Cowboys ($18.4 million cap room) nor the Rams (-$26.6 million) could afford this blockbuster.
Second, while the Cowboys are perennially in win-now mode, the Rams are legitimate Super Bowl contenders on the strength of a defense led by the game’s two best defenders, including cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Just because general manager Les Snead traded quarterback Jared Goff doesn’t mean there’s a fire sale occurring in the City of Angels.
Third, and this should be emphasized, THE RAMS AREN’T TRADING SEVEN-TIME PRO BOWLER, SIX-TIME FIRST-TEAM ALL-PRO AARON DONALD. NOT THIS YEAR. PROBABLY NOT EVER.
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Cowboys Named Top Destination for 8-Time Pro Bowler
Patrick Peterson reportedly is headed to the open market, where the Cowboys could await the perennial Pro Bowl CB. With the news that Peterson and the Arizona Cardinals are parting ways this offseason, the Cowboys have been named among five potential landing spots for the 30-year-old defensive star, according to FanSided.
Drafted No. 5 overall by Arizona in the 2011 draft, Peterson is established as one of the best cornerbacks of his generation. Equally adept in coverage and against the run, he’s totaled 499 combined tackles, 91 pass deflections and 28 interceptions across 154 career games — all starts.
Peterson continues to perform at an elite level despite Father Time rearing his ugly head. In 2020, the three-time first-team All-Pro recorded 61 tackles and three INTs as the Cardinals finished 10th in pass defense, one spot ahead of the Cowboys.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL