Moving into the NFC East the irony is not lost. If any division looked like the Wild West, it is this one. There is a valid argument that every team in the group could win the division if enough things went right. As it stands, the Dallas Cowboys, given their talent and hunger after two-straight 8-8 finishes, gives them an edge. Could a trade midway through the season prove beneficial to their cause?
One can understand why the Dallas Cowboys used the franchise tag on Anthony Spencer. As the team shifts to a new 4-3 defensive scheme they needed proven pass rushers in place, even though Spencer and DeMarcus Ware have spent their careers excelling in the 3-4 scheme. The 2012 season was the best yet for Spencer as he racked up careers highs in sacks (11) and tackles (95) to reach his first Pro Bowl. At age 29 he is in his prime, but doing so at a point where his services could be wasted because of scheme fit issues. That is why he makes such prime trade bait. Finding 3-4 outside linebackers who can consistently rush the passer is difficult. There are a number of teams who could use help at that spot and may part with a high draft choice to get it. Among the top options include the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers. It’s merely a question of time and injuries.
Young backup quarterbacks tend to get lots of attention in trade circles, but people forget veterans do too. Kyle Orton has been productive for almost every team he’s played on, which is why Dallas signed him in the first place. At age 31 he isn’t over the hill and the experience he brings, along with some understated leadership, would be a welcome asset to another team should their starter go down. Orton has never tossed more interceptions than touchdowns since his rookie year and is a highly effective game manager, if not a star talent. Teams like the Green Bay Packers, St. Louis Rams or San Diego Chargers, who don’t have the most stable backup positions, might pay a fair penny to “rent” Orton in case their starter goes down for any length of time.
Uh-uh. Not gonna happen. Impossible. Is it? There is no question Jason Witten is the consummate pro. He doesn’t miss games and he always delivers. The 2012 campaign was his best from a statistical standpoint, and that is precisely why he is viable trade material. Tight ends are en vogue for the NFL these days. Having a capable one increases the chances of winning. Best of all the market for them has gone up. Dallas knows this better than most, which is why they drafted Gavin Escobar when they still has some other needs. Dealing Witten would likely net them a high draft choice and perhaps one or two low ones, giving them a terrific setup for the talented 2014 draft expected next April. This trade would depend heavily on how the Dallas Cowboys start their season, the fate of Tony Romo and whether Escobar steps up in the passing game early.