Double-Trouble: The Problem With Cowboys Trade Ideas On Slay And Diggs
There is nothing wrong with spit-balling and brain-storming NFL acquisition ideas. The Dallas Cowboys do it - and should, all the way up to kicking around names like Tom Brady, no matter how silly.
So if the Cowboys do it, why shouldn't fans and media do the same?
Spit-balling and brain-storming, when it comes to names like Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs and Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay, is actually a useful tool ... in at least one regard:
It can help the team, the media and the fans, know what not to do.
I believe, in the case of Slay, the Cowboys personnel department has a keen understanding of who he is (especially in comparison to Dallas' own top cornerback Byron Jones) and what it would take to get him. That's motivation for us to write this story: "Would The Cowboys Rather Trade for Lions CB Darius Slay Than Re-Sign Byron Jones?''
I do not, on the other hand, believe Dallas has spent a great deal of time looking into Diggs' availability. A likely explanation for the difference between a Slay evaluation and a Diggs evaluation: The Cowboys have long been aware of the possibility of a Jones offer out-pricing what they wish to pay him, whereas in the case of Cooper, the Cowboys have long planned to pay him (or tag him, though the new CBA talks might impact that second idea.)
Here's how we dismissed the notion of Byron-out/Slay-in in the aforementioned story:
"In the end, the double-price tag on Slay (presumably a premium draft pick plus the new set-the-market contract) closes whatever gap one thinks exists between him and Jones. The Cowboys, we bet, don't want to pay either of them $15 million APY - which is why we've so often written of Jones as "the star about to get squeezed'' - but the Cowboys also don't want to get fooled into valuing a "new toy'' over an existing one.''
And now our colleague John Owning (who helps host the terrific CowboysSI.com podcast "Best Coast Boys'') writes for the Dallas Morning News on the same issue:
"It’s understandable why some would connect these dots because it follows this logic: If the Cowboys lose Cooper and/or Jones, then it would be wise for them to look for a replacement with similar skill levels. Moreover, Diggs' and Slay's current contracts will likely be cheaper than whatever deals Jones and Cooper will agree to this offseason.
"The biggest reason it wouldn’t work is because the potential cap savings of this type of move are nullified by the likely loss of draft capital. The Cowboys would essentially be losing two players (Cooper/Jones, plus the draft pick) to gain one in return.''
There is also the Vikings now saying they have no intention of dumping Diggs. But the general point remains in place. ...
Owning is precisely correct here. It's a "double-price tag.'' Diggs will not be "cheaper than Cooper'' once you pay the Vikings and pay him. Slay will not be "cheaper than Byron'' once you pay the Lions and pay him. but none of this should kill the practice - inside The Star and out - of spit-balling and brain-storming. Doing so is how some of the very best ideas oftentimes come about. ... Just not this time.