From losing his starting quarterback to having players anonymously rip the coaching staff, just about everything has gone wrong in Mike McCarthy’s first year as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. In particular, Jerry Jones’ team has been an absolute mess on the defensive side of the ball.
Dallas ranks dead-last in points allowed and will now have to start its third-string quarterback after Andy Dalton took a vicious helmet-to-helmet shot in Sunday’s embarrassing loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
But, apparently, the worst defense in football has no use for a player Dallas signed for $6 million just a few months ago. By putting Everson Griffen on the trading block, the Cowboys just sent a clear warning sign that their season is already over.
It’s been a dismal start to the season in Dallas
Entering the season, the Cowboys looked like the favorites to win the NFC East. Thanks to the ineptitude of the division, Dallas somehow sits in second place despite having a 2-5 record. Still, there hasn’t been much to cheer about through the first seven games of the season.
On offense, the Cowboys have suffered a number of massive injury blows. Tyron Smith had to undergo season-ending neck surgery. Fellow starting offensive tackle La’el Collins couldn’t overcome a nagging hip ailment and watched his season end before it truly began. Of course, Dak Prescott experienced a brutal setback in his quest to score a long-term contract when he suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle in Week 5.
Defensively, the Cowboys have been an absolute disaster under Mike Nolan. Dallas has surrendered nearly 35 points per game. A front seven that has also been ravaged by injuries has been obliterated in the run game. Opponents have averaged 178.3 rushing yards per game against the Cowboys.
To make matters worse, Mike McCarthy’s coaching staff recently got blasted by anonymous players. Clearly, there are major issues within the walls of AT&T Stadium.
The Cowboys just sent a $6 million warning sign that their season’s over
Based on their early-season struggles, it certainly seems unlikely that the Cowboys will make a Super Bowl run this year. Injuries have played a major role in the team’s slow start, but the coaching staff has also failed to hold up its end of the bargain. Needless to say, changes could be coming in Dallas sooner than later.
One of those shake-ups could involve a player the Cowboys just signed to a $6 million contract back in August. On Monday, Ian Rapoport reported via Twitter that Dallas has made Everson Griffen available in a trade. The 32-year-old signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys this summer after spending his entire career with the Minnesota Vikings.
By putting Griffen on the trading block, Dallas just sent a clear warning sign that their season is over. Despite all their struggles on defense, the veteran pass rusher has been one of the unit’s few bright spots. The 6-foot-3, 273-pound defensive end ranks second on team in sacks (2.5) and quarterback hits (six). He has played 56% of the team’s defensive snaps through seven games.
Considering how much trouble they’ve had getting after the quarterback, the fact that Dallas wants to get rid of one of its only pass-rushing threats signifies that the team knows it doesn’t have the pieces to compete for a title. NFL teams don’t trade away impact players if they believe they can win a Super Bowl. But given all of their issues, the Cowboys clearly have come to the realization that this season won’t end in championship glory.
Which NFL teams could be interested in trading for Everson Griffen?
Now that the Cowboys have put Everson Griffen on the trading block, it will be interesting to see which NFL team steps up to secure his services. While he may be on the back end of his career, the four-time Pro Bowler can provide a pass-rush spark for a playoff contender.
As ESPN’s Ed Werder alluded to, the Seattle Seahawks would be an excellent fit. Griffen won’t cost much, and Pete Carroll’s defense desperately needs a spark up front. The Seahawks have totaled just nine sacks in six games. In fact, safety Jamal Adams is tied for the team-lead with two quarterback takedowns.
Adding a player with Griffen’s skillset and experience would be a massive boost for a team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. Could Seattle pry him from Dallas for a mid-round draft pick?
Other playoff-caliber teams that need pass-rush help include the Cardinals and the Cleveland Browns. Arizona lost Chandler Jones to a season-ending biceps tear, so trading for Griffen would make a ton of sense for a team sitting in second place in the crowded NFC West.
Meanwhile, the Browns already have a superstar in Myles Garrett. However, take away his team-leading nine sacks, and the rest of Cleveland’s defense has totaled just nine in seven games. Could the Browns trade a draft pick to the Cowboys in order to give Garrett some help?
Dallas should have at least a few suitors for Everson Griffen’s services. Only time will tell which NFL team will pry the Pro Bowler away.
But for now, one thing is clear: The Cowboys are sending a warning sign that their season’s over.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.