FRISCO - What started as a collection of "speculative'' trade ideas has morphed into a "rumor'': The Dallas Cowboys have talked about trading down with the New England Patriots in a way that allows the Patriots to jump for a QB. ...
And in a way that allows Dallas to acquire veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
We haven't confirmed this as fact, but for one portion of it: The Pats have definitely talked to top-10 teams about a move up. What would have to happen for the Cowboys to get involved and to settle on taking the No. 15 spot in this draft from New England?
There are obstacles - though one of them, in our minds, has been cleared up a bit.
First, that prized QB must be available. Will Ohio State's Justin Fields slip to 10? Dallas could ask for a bonanza in picks for the swap.
Second, even if Fields is on the board, if also still sitting there is either of Dallas' top cornerback targets, South Carolina's Jaycee Horn (we're told they're "leaning'' toward him) or Alabama's Patrick Surtain, the Cowboys likely hold their spot and pick their guy.
And finally, an obstacle that has faded a bit: The finances.
We once dismissed the idea of Gilmore, the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, being attractive to Dallas due to his $16.3 million salary - and due to our belief that one of the reasons Bill Belichick might be willing to let him go is is Gilmore's likely desire for a contract extension that might feature a $20 million salary.
The extension issue would be a problem for Dallas, and if the Cowboys don't budge, they likely have an unhappy camper on their hands. But the 2021 salary, we've been informed, is not especially problematic. And here's why:
His $16.3M cap cost for New England would, in the event of a trade, be divided between the Patriots and his new employer. The $8.5 million of prorated signing bonus stays on the Pats' ledger, and then the remainder of $7.9 million - comes with him (depending on the timing of a $411,000 roster bonus).
So Gilmore's salary number for Dallas would be between $7.3 mil and $7.9 mil, depending on that roster bonus and how much of another wrinkle in his contract ($500,000 in per-game roster bonuses) is considered Likely to be Earned.
So, yes, this idea merits conversation, with a lot of obstacles to be pushed out of the way to make it happen. But the true details of Stephon Gilmore's contract mean we just pushed out of the way about $8 million worth of those obstacles.