Let's eventually call this "Anatomy of a Rumor.'' But let's first get to the straight dope on the idea of the Dallas Cowboys engineering an NFL trade for Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden.
A team source tells me the Cowboys are not presently pursuing such a trade and have not engaged in conversation with the Steelers about Haden.
That doesn't mean Dallas couldn't and shouldn't be buyers ahead of the November 2 NFL trade deadline. At 4-1, and heading to New England this weekend with a chance at taking clear control of the NFC East, loading up for a title run makes plenty of sense.
In that spirit, another team source reminds me to "never say never.'' But that's not a confirmation of any present movement, just a general sentiment.
So where did this "rumor'' come from?
It first came to my attention via Cowboys fans who directed me to a tweet from something called "Notoriety Sports Network,'' which posted this:
"Reports: The Cowboys have contacted the Steelers about acquiring CB Joe Haden, who is entering the final year of his current contract in Pittsburgh.''
This was posted on October 13. "Reports''? What "reports''?
A Google search indicates there were, on or just before October 13, no "reports.'' But at one point, what did come along was this: Bleacher Report offered an opinion that Dallas “should” make a deal for Haden.
Bleacher Report - which also linked the team to Jets safety Marcus Maye and to Lions defensive tackle Michael Brockers - was obviously spit-balling here. And so respectfully, I will say that this isn't a "report'' because this isn't "reporting.''
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"It will be good to get a break," Ezekiel Elliott says.
This is fan-blogger-level stuff. It's "fun.'' The league-leading ballhawk Trevon Diggs (healthy enough to go today at New England), plus Haden? Fun.
But ... It's not "news.''
Could this actually happen? It would require Pittsburgh, sitting at 2-3, to decide it wishes to be a seller. It would require Dallas wanting to take on a "rental'' - or maybe, given that Haden, in the final year of his contract, reportedly approached the team about an extension in August, according to ESPN, it could require Dallas to cough up an extension.
Haden is a three-time Pro Bowler and former second-team All-Pro and once upon a time was the seventh overall pick in the 2010 draft. His accustomed salary is $11 million APY. His age is 32. He might be judged to be a superior player to Anthony Brown, "ready to go'' Trevon Diggs' running mate at cornerback. Or, considering this year's drafting of rookies Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright, we can go back and rely on what the Cowboys have often told me about rumors of pursuing vet corners: "We feel like we've already made our investment there.''
I did get one scare, personally on the subject, when I looked at Twitter and saw that in what looked like another "rumor,'' I was connected with Haden-to-Dallas report.
Then I realized that it was a retweet of something I'd written about the Cowboys' interest in the player ... in 2017.
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