The Dallas Cowboys need a massive upgrade at cornerback and Richard Sherman is reportedly on the trade block, but should the team pursue a deal?
Wreckage might be the most apt term to describe the state of the Dallas Cowboys secondary currently. Looking at their base defense, the Cowboys have just Byron Jones remaining from their starters in Week 1 a year ago. Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr and Barry Church are all gone via free agency — and so too is J.J. Wilcox
Sure, the Cowboys have tried to work a bit with their minimal cap space by signing Nolan Carroll to try and fill the hole left at cornerback. However, Carroll was abysmal for the Philadelphia Eagles for much of last year. Also, that leaves the Dallas with a three-man rotation of Carroll, Orlando Scandrick and second-year man Anthony Brown. That’s not comforting and something has to be done.
One possible option that’s been floated around given recent reports is the notion of trading for Richard Sherman. With widespread and still kicking reports that the Seattle Seahawks are open to trading him, the All-Pro caliber cornerback would obviously be an immense upgrade to what the Cowboys currently have at the position. However, that doesn’t answer the question of if the Cowboys should actually look to try and make a trade.
The most important factor in this for Dallas is, of course, the asking price. And it’s a steep one. Initially, the Seahawks were reportedly looking for a high draft pick in 2017 (presumably a first-rounder) and a good player. But Mike Garofolo of NFL Network is reporting (per Pro Football Talk) that the price has dropped. Now Seattle wants “just” a 2017 first-round pick and a 2018 mid-round pick for the cornerback.
Even though the price is dropping, though, the first-round pick is ultimately the complicating factor. Despite the desperate need at cornerback, the Cowboys may be even more desperate at defensive end. They must address their pass rush and should do so with the No. 28 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. If they were to trade for Sherman, though, that’s obviously not possible anymore.
So then it becomes a question of comparing Sherman’s impact as a corner to that of a young edge rusher. Sherman is the proven commodity, sure. And you never know if a pick is going to bust in the draft. However, the decisive factor in the decision process should not come down to immediate impact, but rather long-term value and impact.
After going 13-3 last season, the Cowboys appear as if they are in “win-now” mode. That’s partially true. However, with an offensive line in their 20s and two second-year studs in Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott leading the offense, it should be more “win-now-and-for-the-next-decade” mode. It’s about creating a team that can compete and have success immediately, but also sustain that level of performance.
With that being the case, the price for Richard Sherman is just too steep. He’s 29 years old and has only two years left on his contract. Assuming he doesn’t decline — not a certainty in the slightest — you’re looking at two years guaranteed. That’s not worth a potential game-changer on the edge. Moreover, the impact of a late-first round pass rusher versus a late-second rounder can be substantial. It’s also a difference that the anemic pass rush of Dallas can’t afford to incur. They’re better off holding on to No. 28 and letting someone else overpay for Sherman.
It’s be great to have Sherman in Dallas next season. He’d completely bolster the secondary and make that unit a strength. However, the lack of longevity of the move coupled with the price makes it so that it shouldn’t be a realistic option to pursue him.