With Orlando Scandrick facing a four-game suspension and Morris Claiborne once again limping, the Dallas Cowboys are desperate for help at the cornerback position. But with options limited on the open market this late in the year, the 'Boys were forced to go the trade route in order to add potential relief Wednesday, dealing reserve defensive end Ben Bass to the New England Patriots in exchange for Justin Green, per the team's official website.
Ordinarily, adding a guy like Green—an undrafted free agent with zero tackles in two career games—wouldn't create any buzz, but this is a special situation because Dallas is preparing to face guys like DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper and Victor Cruz with a secondary that is startlingly thin.
|Cowboys: Projected Week 1 CB depth chart (career stats)|
|1. Brandon Carr||96||6511||14|
|2. Morris Claiborne||22||1431||2|
|3. Sterling Moore||3||786||3|
|4. Terrance Mitchell||0||0||0|
|5. B.W. Webb||0||185||0|
|Pro Football Focus/Reference|
Plus, you've gotta see something in a guy in order to trade for him, which indicates that the front office believes Green might be capable of pushing Sterling Moore, B.W. Webb and Terrance Mitchell as the preseason progresses.
Green spent the majority of the 2013 season on New England's practice squad. He was called up for two games during the second half of the year but played just nine total snaps, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). And since he was a running back to start his college career at Illinois, it's safe to conclude that he's still somewhat raw.
Here's what an unnamed scout told NFL Media's Ian Rapoport regarding Green's game:
Solid backend type of guy who definitely brings value on special teams. Really good practice squad type of player who can be moved up and be activated if injury occurs. ... But you don't want him out there for a prolonged period of time in coverage, likely would get exposed.
But he may have the physical skill set to hang in, starting with speed.
This is a nice, safe gamble. Since Green has no track record, it's an indication that the team is desperate, but that's actually the way it should be.
Bass had potential but had struggled to stay healthy and was one of many fringe defensive linemen on the roster. Green might not be a savior, but he's got a serious chance to make a statement and sneak onto this team.