Hands up if you thought we'd be half way through the NFL season and the Dallas Cowboys would be 6-2 after eight games.
Congratulations, you are either genius or crazy. Before the trade deadline though, Jerry Jones and the Cowboys had a decision to make. Were they going to go all-in on this season or were they instead going to let their best Championship chance of the next few seasons slide through their hands?
If it was the latter then they didn't need to do anything ahead of the deadline but if it was the former, then it was the perfect time for Jerry Jones to make mother of all trades and grab Lions star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
Here's why they should have made the move...
Why do Dallas need to trade at all?
The first question is why would the Cowboys look to trade? After all they have only lost two games all season. They are top of the standing in the NFC East and strong favorites to make the post-season. There is no need to panic after an overtime defeat to Washington.
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However, the loss to Washington exposed the problems that the Cowboys have. In order to win games the Cowboys' margin for error is perilously low.
Essentially, the offense has to click perfectly, not only scoring points but also eating up the clock in order to keep the weak defense off the field. If this doesn't happen then teams can expose the defense's weaknesses. To give this some perspective Washington's offense isn't great and it was being led by third string QB Colt McCoy.
The Cowboys have done a great job scheming and making do with the likes of Rolando McClain but eventually the lack of talent is going to catch up to them. Dallas need to secure an upgrade on the defensive side of the ball if they are going to continue to be competitive.
It was now or never for the Cowboys
Okay, you might say the Cowboys aren't a perfect team but why trade in mid-season
when the price for players is typically higher? There is always next season and the draft picks the Cowboys would trade away for Suh could be priceless.
The answer to this lies in the future of Dez Byrant and DeMarco Murray and Dallas's
salary cap situation. Simply put it is now or never for this Cowboys team.
Both star wide receiver Byrant and stud running back Murray are out of contract at
the end of the season. In an ideal world Jerry Jones would sign both of his players up to long term deals. It's doubtful that will be possible though.
Byrant's rookie deal is up at the end of this season. The cost of keeping one of the
league's top wide receivers is going to be high. Similarly with Murray, he has rushed for over 1000+ yards this season so even in a depressed market for running backs Murray isn't going to come cheap.
Furthermore, Tony Romo is turning 35 soon enough. As the injury scare against Washington showed the Cowboys can't count on Romo's body standing up to NFL level punishment in the long term.
Given all the above though why Suh? He was available to trade because his contract
is up at the end of the season and the Lions already seem resigned to losing their star defensive tackle.
The attractiveness of Suh is twofold. Firstly, he is the sort of big name star that appeals to Jerry Jones. Secondly, as a defensive tackle it will be easier for him to make an immediate impact on the team.
The Cowboys could do with help at linebacker, safety or corner but there is more
playbook to learn in those positions. At defensive tackle the playbook is simpler and Suh's pass rush abilities could be pivotal.
It may have been late but Jerry Jones should have at least picked up the phone.