The Dallas Cowboys did what they could to bolster a thin secondary on Tuesday, trading defensive tackle Ben Bass to the New England Patriots in exchange for cornerback Justin Green.
News of the deal was reported by Nick Eatman of DallasCowboys.com, confirming the original report by David Moore of The Dallas Morning News:
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported what one scout had to say regarding Green, who was an undrafted free agent out of Illinois in 2013:
Scout who studied #Cowboys CB Justin Green: "Tough, physical, competes. Above avg movement skills. Back-end guy with special teams value.”— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 12, 2014
Rapoport also highlighted another trade New England made to further bolster its defensive line:
It makes sense that the Patriots want to build up in the trenches. With aging veterans Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly on the interior, Bass brings an added enforcement, though he was also not drafted out of Texas A&M in 2012. Green Bay Packers defensive end Jerel Worthy was a second-round pick and may get more out of his talent in New England's defense.
But the bigger story here, as is often the case when covering America's Team, is the Cowboys.
Owner and general manager Jerry Jones announced Monday that cornerback Orlando Scandrick was suspended for the first four games of the regular season. ESPN Stats & Info highlighted Scandrick's value:
Orlando Scandrick suspended 1st 4 reg season games (drug policy). Dallas D more effective w/ him on field last 2 yrs pic.twitter.com/JA1oYom1aE— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 12, 2014
That generated an instant need for a pass defense that ranked 30th in the NFL last season and lost a solid cover corner for the first quarter of the 2014 NFL campaign.
Green may not have cracked the two-deep depth chart listed on the Patriots' official website, but he was also facing stiff competition. The likes of superstar Darrelle Revis and former Seattle Seahawk Brandon Browner occupy the position, along with emerging youngster Logan Ryan and past starter Alfonzo Dennard.
Little room was available for Green to make an impact beyond special teams, but as part of the Dallas roster, he has a real chance to contribute. The Cowboys need some tenacity on the back end, something Green should provide in playing with a chip on his shoulder after not being drafted.
It's doubtful Green will be enough of a presence to drastically turn around Dallas' woeful defense, though. Former first-round pick Morris Claiborne is the true X-factor, since he hasn't lived up to his billing in two years as a pro.
Thus, more blame than ever will likely be shifted to quarterback Tony Romo to help the Cowboys avoid their fifth straight year without a trip to the playoffs—fair or not.