Dak Vs. Stafford: What If Cowboys' Trade Cost Is Just 2 2nd-Round Picks?

If Dak and the Cowboys can't do a long-term deal, he'll be tagged again, at $38 million. Consider this: Stafford's contract means his next employer is scheduled to pay him about that same amount ... Over two seasons.
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FRISCO - A few days ago, an NFL team chasing a new QB might've been picked from a solid crop that includes Jameis Winston, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mitchell Trubisky, Jacoby Brissett and Dallas' own Andy Dalton.

A few days later that equation changed. The speculative list includes headliners like Aaron Rodgers, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson. And the truly-on-the-block list includes the Detroit Lions' Matthew Stafford, with the team having bowed to his request to seek a trade.

Immediately thereafter came a "Silly Season'' national media "rumor'' about the Dallas Cowboys making a trade for Stafford, the 32-year QB. In this iteration, the Cowboys would trade Amari Cooper and NFL Draft pick No. 10 for Stafford ... and in the process, also dump Dak, leaving him to walk.

READ MORE: Silly Season 'Fake Rumor': Cowboys Trade For Stafford, But Lose Dak, Amari & No. 10?

That's a terrible asset-management idea. But that doesn't there might not be a better one worth contemplating.

Etch this in stone, first of all: Stafford, irrespective of Prescott's presence with the Cowboys, would love to play in DFW. The product of Highland Park High School (the Jones family's favorite high school), does, we recently found out, truly does consider Dallas "home.''

READ MORE: BEER ME! Dak Prescott Signs Long-Term Deal - To Sell Bud Light

CONTINUE READING: Cowboys Contracts: The Solution To Dallas' Dak Dilemma

So ... Just spitballing here: What will be the cost? Over the weekend, some NFL speculation had it that in order to land Stafford, a team would have to give up a first-rounder, at least a second-rounder, and a starting player. Our man in Denver, Chad Jensen, relays, for instance, that for the Broncos, that would mean having to give up the No. 9 overall pick in the 2021 draft, plus another high pick, plus and/or young QB Drew Lock or a wide receiver.

That's ... a lot.

But on Monday, NBC Sports' Peter King floated a less prohibitive possibility. King writes that the trade "compensation'' (might be) two second-round picks.

We still think Detroit insists on getting a first-rounder. But if King is right? Teams will line up to do that.

Should Dallas - "Silly Season'' talk aside - get in line?

If Dak and the Cowboys cannot agree to a long-term deal, he'll be tagged again, at $38 million for 2021. Forget for a moment "which QB is better'' and consider this: Stafford's contract means his next employer will pay him about that same amount ...

Over two seasons.

The final two years in Stafford's deal pay him $20 million and $23 million, respectively.

As Pelissero notes, any trade would surely happen prior to the fifth day of the 2021 league year in March, so Detroit can avoid paying him a large roster bonus. And of course, the Cowboys' deadline to use the tag (which can simply be a placeholder while negotiations continue) is March 9.

Could be a busy time.

This still leaves the question about what to do with Dak. No team would simply "dump'' him. And a tag-and-trade is complicated, as we illustrate below (in the Dak-Deshaun breakdown). Oh, and one more thing: What if Stafford wishes to get a contract extension with his new team, thus blowing out of the water the "only $43 mil for two years'' thing?

As we've often said, NFL teams have to explore every idea. If the price is $43 mil for two years and just two second-round picks? Yes. For a player of Matthew Stafford's quality, virtually every team should explore that.

CONTINUE READING: Would Texans Trade 'Unhappy' Deshaun For 'Unsignable' Dak?