The Dallas Cowboys could potentially be in a quality position to trade out of their eventual draft slot come April’s first round. Nothing is set in stone and with five games to play there are numerous possibilities to how the remainder of the season will play out. Heck, the Cowboys may end up winning the division and not picking until No. 19 or later. All things being considered though, based on their inability to pass or run block with so many injuries along the offensive line, the Cowboys seem a solid bet to end up with a top-5 selection.
They will not catch the New York Jets or Jacksonville Jaguars. Those two organizations are almost assured to finish 1-2 in draft order and be in position to draft or trade the rights to select Trevor Lawrence and QB2. Who QB2 is, may be up to the eye of the beholder. Most feel that will be Ohio State’s Justin Fields, but there are some who think Zack Wilson of BYU is the second-best available. There are others who believe North Dakota State’s Trey Lance is the league’s next superstar and may be willing to rank him as QB2 or QB3. There’s also a case to be made for Florida’s Kyle Trask as a top guy. Yes, as many as five QBs are in consideration for top-10 picks. That makes the situation Dallas finds themselves in pretty tasty from a trade-back perspective.
Because costs of QBs are so high, and because the salary cap is expected to drop, it will be very appealing for teams to seek a draft solution to their QB needs. Teams that focus on a certain player being the answer may be willing to put together a package to move up, and the Cowboys may be the team best suited to be in that position.
The two teams closet to the Cowboys in the race for slot No. 3 (again, five weeks to go and things can and will change) are Cincinnati and the Los Angeles Chargers. Both teams drafted their franchise QBs in the top 6 last year in Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert. Both teams have a massive need for OL help and if either landed ahead of Dallas, it’s feasible they would rather select Oregon’s Penei Sewell (or another OT) instead of trading back.
For now, we’ll work with that premise. Dallas could theoretically be the first team willing to bail from a top 4 pick so another team could move up to select their QB of the future.
Who would be willing to make that move? Well, there are a lot of QB thirsty teams out there in 2020.
Current Top 10 Draft Order, Records, Strength of Schedule
New York Jets
Los Angeles Chargers
Washington Football Team
Carolina Panthers (4-8): YES
The Panthers currently are the No. 7 seed and have Teddy Bridgewater as their QB. Bridgewater is signed through the 2022 season on a three-year, $63 million deal. It's likely Carolina tries to get help around Bridgewater first, but they cannot be totally dismissed as a possible trade partner.
Washington (4-7): NO
The football team drafted Dwayne Haskins in the first round of 2019, got Alex Smith back from injury and still will likely be in the QB market come April. Currently the No. 8 pick, one wonders if Jerry Jones would trade this high with a division rival. Third or fourth round? Sure, but giving a potential franchise QB to a rival? That's a tough stretch.
Detroit (4-7): YES
Could the Lions be ready to move on from Matt Stafford? They haven't been good but for two or three years of his lengthy career. Stafford will cost $20M in cash in 2021 and will have a $14 million cap saving if they trade or release him, meaning they could definitely be in the QB market come April.
Atlanta (4-7): NO
The Falcons record says they could look to move on from Matt Ryan if they can afford it, but they are trending in the right direction since Raheem Morris took over the reigns as interim HC. 4-2 and should be 5-1 if Todd Gurley didn't play like a stupidhead is worth bringing the coach back and the QB to see if things are real in 2021. Oh and Matt Ryan would cost an additional $9 million in cap space to get rid of. They aren't in the equation.
Denver (4-7): YES
The Broncos are trying out Drew Lock, drafted in the 2nd round of 2019, but his leadership is brought into question with the recent maskless debacle. Throw in his less than inspiring play and GM John Elway could look to make a splash by trading up for a true franchise guy.
Chicago (5-6): YES
Whether Matt Nagy survives as HC or not, the answer at QB clearly isn't going to be Mitchell Trubisky or Nick Foles. No, the Bears will once again enter the market, though after trading up for Trubisky (and passing on Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson) one wonders if the org will be gunshy to hone in on a guy yet again.
New England (5-6): YES
The Patriots have rented Cam Newton for a season and he has them in the playoff hunt, but realistically they seem to be a team that would look to the draft market for a long-term solution. Jarrett Stidham may get some snaps down the stretch of the season to see if he's an answer, but the club will need a permanent replacement for Tom Brady.
San Francisco (5-6): YES
Jimmy Garoppolo has two years remaining on his deal, but no guaranteed money is there. The one team to suffer more catastrophic injury woes than Dallas could bounce back quickly with a stout defense if they had a serviceable QB. Their fans are all in, but releasing (or trading Garoppolo) and trading up for a top QB could be a move they consider. SF might be Dallas' best bet to get the superhaul that includes multiple 2021 picks and a 2022 first rounder to boot.