Cowboys Meet With Former NFC Foe Playmakers After Trade Decision

Mike McCarthy

Getty The pressure is on the Dallas Cowboys to add playmakers this offseason.

The Dallas Cowboys passed on making a deadline day deal, instead opting to stick with their current roster. Less than 24 hours after the trade deadline, the Cowboys hosted several free agent players for a November 2 tryout during the team’s bye week. Among the more intriguing players were the following trio of running backs, per the NFL transaction wire: Dexter Williams (Notre Dame), Brian Hill (Wyoming) and ZaQuandre White (South Carolina).

Hill and Williams are particularly interesting given their playing history. Williams had a standout senior season at Notre Dame in 2019, notching 158 carries for 995 yards and 12 touchdowns. The running back also added 16 receptions for 133 yards and one TD.

Williams played two seasons for the Green Bay Packers but was unable to carve out a role in a deep Green Bay backfield. The rusher also had brief stints with the Browns and Dolphins.

Hill has the most accomplished resume of the three backs, thanks to his four years with the Falcons. The veteran’s best season came in 2020 when Hill posted 100 rushes for 465 yards and one touchdown during 16 appearances for Atlanta. Hill also added 25 catches for 199 receiving yards. Most recently, Hill had a brief stint with the 49ers, playing three games for San Francisco prior to his release in January.

Dallas Attempted to Trade Trysten Hill for Another Player

Given Ezekiel Elliott’s injury, the Cowboys are likely doing their due diligence during the bye week in case the team needs to add running back depth. There has been no indication that Elliott’s injury is serious, and Dallas is fortunate to also have Tony Pollard in the backfield. In addition to the running backs, the Cowboys hosted the following players for a tryout: cornerback Tim Harris (Virginia), tackle George Moore (Oregon), guard Jordan Simmons (USC), Linden Stephens (Cincinnati), tackle Alex Taylor (South Carolina State), cornerback Chris Wilcox (BYU) and guard Willie Wight (Tulsa).

The Cowboys declined to make a move at the trade deadline but released former second-round pick Trysten Hill after failing to find a suitable deal. Dallas CEO Stephen Jones revealed that the team explored trading Hill for another veteran player but the deals “didn’t quite fit.”

“Well, of course, we were working on a couple things with him as well yesterday and had some opportunities that just didn’t quite fit on player-for-player type situations,” Jones told reporters on November 2. “But Trysten’s a good football player, we just have some [depth], as we call them “The Bigs,” we’re a little heavy there.

“Of course, [we] traded for a great player, a really solid player in [Johnathan] Hankins, in terms of what we felt like was an area we needed to improve with [defending] the run game. He certainly brings help there, and we just had to make a tough decision from a numbers standpoint. But Trysten is a really good football player, and I know he’ll continue to play in this league.”

The Cowboys Discussed a Trade for Texans WR Brandin Cooks

Dallas was also linked to a potential trade for speedy Texans receiver Brandin Cooks. The Cowboys were unwilling to take on Cooks’ $18 million salary for 2023 and also give up draft capital as part of the deal.

“The Cowboys and Texans were discussing a deal to send WR Brandin Cooks to Dallas, per sources,” Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer tweeted on November 1. “And the sides were in the neighborhood on comp. Cooks’ $18 million guarantee for 2023 was the dealbreaker here.”