FRISCO - One person very close to the situation - and what a situation it is! - puts the Dallas Cowboys' trade for controversial defensive end Michael Bennett in a reasonable frame. After interviewing multiple people involved in the trade, my 10 Takes from The Star:
1) The positive framework: "He loves football,'' a source tells me, "and he has opinions. He has a mind of his own and he speaks that mind.''
That's a very avant-garde analysis of Bennett's long history of "speaking that mind.'' Does "speaking that mind'' fit into the buttoned-up Dallas locker room?
We - and Jason Witten, who once clashed with Michael's brother Martellus - are about to find out.
2) The negative framework? Well, there are a few of those. Maybe most prominent: If you make a trade with Bill Belichick, who has given up on a guy? It means you think Bill Belichick is wrong.
Good luck with that.
3) Is Bennett a "bad guy''? That's probably not fair. If you are his pal, you think he is a "free spirit.'' If you somehow think he's a "locker-room wrecker,'' and wonder if he was that in Philly last year, despite his nine sacks?
Maybe the Philly locker room, QB on down, isn't led by the same quality of leadership that exists here at The Star.
But again - being fair: He might be a "distraction,'' but he's not a "criminal.'' We should be careful to recognize the distinction.
I bet coach Jason Garrett is interested in the distinction as well. Garrett likes his "RKGs'' ... but in the final year of the coach's contract, he likes win-now talent, too.
4) Does he fit on the field? This one is easy. Bennett, 6-4, 277, as a spot pass-rusher (or even rotating inside on third downs) is a step up from the guys who practice behind starters DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn. And yes, on third down, if you can put those three on the field at the same time?
5) What was New England thinking? Bennett conflicted with the coaching staff last week, earning himself a week suspension. This week, upon his return, he refused to play "good soldier'' with the media -- "speaking that mind.''
Dallas Cowboys VIDEO: New LB Anthony Barr at Practice in L.A.
McCarthy wants to see Barr in "at least one practice" before he plays in a preseason game.
Cowboys to Hall of Fame? Everson Walls, Chuck Howley Update
Chuck Howley is among the three Seniors candidates who is advancing.
VIDEO: Aqib Talib Accused of Starting Dallas-Area Youth Football Brawl Leading to Fatal Shooting
Said a witness, a coach named Heith Mayes: Aqib "ran across the field and ran over on our sideline and got in the ref's face ... he threw the first punch at (coach) Mike.''
His quote about having learned any take-away lessons? ''I didn't take away nothing,'' he said. ''I got suspended, lost money. What am I supposed to take away from that? There is no love lost. It's just what it is.''
The Patriots have the most productive defense in football. His role was slipping. He was expendable. Had he been a better player? Belichick probably would've tolerated more mouth.
6) What's the contract? Palatable. Bennett is under contract through 2020, with a 2019 cap number of $6 million and a cap future of $10 million next season. Next year appears to be escapable ... UPDATE: Dallas can release him going into 2020 and not face a dead-money penalty.
7) Is a rejuvenation part of the plan? Sure. Bennett has 2.5 sacks this season, so it's not like he's fallen off the map. But a return to his native Texas? The Texas A&M product getting a chance to recapture some of the old Seahawks magic he reached when he worked under Kris Richard (who surely helped push for this)?
"Rejuvenation'' is a good word.
8) How is this similar to the Amari Cooper deal? That trade occurred exactly a year ago this week, and while that cost the Cowboys a first-round pick (to the Raiders),and this is but a seventh-round conditional pick, yeah, the similarity is there, in this sense: The Cowboys offense is again shooting its shot, believing it has built something special.
Owner Jerry Jones is certainly not risk-adverse, and in terms of capital, this isn't really that much of a risk. If it turns out to be a problem in the building? Again, the cost was nothing.
Also worth adding: A year ago, football people in Oakland were whispering that Cooper didn't "love football.'' Dallas did the research; Oakland was wrong. Oh, and we could toss the trade of a sixth-round pick to Miami for Quinn here, too; the Dolphins were tired of him, the Cowboys are in love with him.
Dallas did research here, too. The result: "He loves football.''
9) Why did the Pats deal him to Dallas? A two-pronged bet:
First, Dallas did its due-diligence shopping - you know, that "We talk to all the teams all the time'' bit. (Which is true.) I bet the Cowboys were probably focused a bit on interior D-line ideas when this fell into their laps.
10) Why did the Pats deal him to Dallas, Part II: Secondly, I bet Belichick wished to engineer a way for Bennett to land someplace where he'd be least likely to block New England's path to another Super Bowl. So get him out of the AFC East, get him out of the AFC altogether, and ship him all the way to Dallas ...
Though the Cowboys are at New England on Nov. 24. And if both franchises have their way, they'll opposed one another in the Super Bowl ... when Patriot-turned-Cowboy Michael Bennett will have the largest, loudest possible stage to "speak that mind.''