Dallas Cowboys Speculation: Detroit Lions and 5 Best Trades for Tashard Choice
Choice was the Cowboys' 2008 Fourth Round pick in the NFL Draft, bursting onto the scene in 2009 where he became a vital part of Dallas' version of the Wildcat offense (dubbed the "Razorback" formation). Choice would post 349 rushing yards on just 64 carries with three touchdowns in his second NFL season.
2010 would prove to be a large disappointment for former Georgia Tech running back, posting only 3 games with twenty or more rushing yards. A large part of his lack of yardage was due to a lack of touches however. Choice had double-digit rushing attempts in just 2 games last season.
Though the 'Boys did cut veteran running back Marion Barber earlier this free agency, that doesn't mean they're handing Choice the second slot on the running back depth chart. In fact, while Choice has been nursing a calf strain, Lonyae Miller has been the talk of training camp.
Miller, who spent much of 2010 on the practice squad for Dallas, has been impressing teammates and coaches alike, so much that ESPN Dallas writer Tim MacMahon believes Choice might be traded or cut in the near future.
If the Cowboys do opt to use their 2008 draft pick as trade bait, there will be a fair amount of offers coming their way. Here are the top 5 teams who could make a run at the Georgia-born Cowboy.
5. Miami Dolphins
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The Miami Dolphins have excelled under a two-headed running back attack in recent years.
The problem the Dolphins have heading into this season, is that their former 1-2 punch in Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown are no longer in South Beach. Miami was able to acquire former USC standout Reggie Bush from the New Orleans Saints through a trade, but the team should still be in the market for another running back if they want to continue their usual rushing strategy.
Though Choice was after the Bill Parcells era in Dallas, "The Big Tuna" has shown in the past that he loves to acquire former Cowboys whether they be players or coaches.
The only issue with this scenario is that though they aren't identical in their styles, both Bush and Choice have a similar way of running the football in the fact neither are going to truck over a linebacker, they're going to try to juke and jive their way through the defense.
Still, with the free agency frenzy dying down and with only so many running backs still available to sign, it's possible that Choice finds himself down in Miami instead of Dallas when the 2011 season starts.
4. Tennessee Titans
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The winds of change are running through the Titans organization heading into the 2011 NFL season. The Vince Young project has ended, Kerry Collins is retired and long-time Seattle Seahawk Matt Hasselbeck will be calling the shots under center.
Choice would fit in Tennessee because he would be back in his familiar role as a change of pace runner for a bruising, powerful rusher like Chris Johnson.
Speaking of Johnson, not only would Choice be good for the Titans coming in and giving their star runner a breather, but it would give the team some insurance considering "CJ2K" is currently holding out and asking big money of an organization who is normally frugal with the check book.
Choice is still young, entering his fourth season in the league so either this could be the start of a dominating two-headed rushing attack for the Titans or it could provide Tennessee with an insurance policy if they can't get their golden-mouthed rusher to stay with the organization.
3. Detroit Lions
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Hey, it wouldn't be the first time the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys made a trade (looking at you, Roy Williams).
In fact, the 'Boys and Lions have made a couple trades in recent years, one the aforementioned Roy Williams deal and of course, the Jon Kitna deal. The time may be coming where a third deal is added to this list of trades between the two NFC teams.
The Lions were stung with even more bad luck today, when their rookie running back Mikel Leshoure suffered a torn Achilles' tendon during their Monday practice and will subsequently miss the entire 2011 season.
Detroit still has their 2010 first round pick Jahvid Best to take care of running back duties, but Best is coming off a injury filled rookie year and would benefit from having another back around to ease the workload.
The Lions currently have veteran runner Maurice Morris as their second option at running back, but Choice is younger and has shown that given an opportunity he has the potential to become a legitimate threat in the backfield.
2. San Francisco 49ers
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The Jim Harbaugh era has officially begun in San Francisco, with the team making some smart moves during the free agency period, notably re-singing quarterback Alex Smith and recently signing former New York Jet wide receiver Braylon Edwards.
The rushing attack of the 49ers has centered around Frank Gore since being drafted by San Francisco in 2005. The issue for the Niners is the fact that Gore, as great as he has been on the field, has been plagued with injuries in the past few seasons.
San Fran has lived and died with Gore in the running game, and though he is clearly a top ten running back when healthy, the Bay Area squad needs some insurance in case their star runner continues to have injury woes.
Again, Choice would do well spelling Gore and providing an excellent change of pace from the bruising style of the 49ers number 21 and provide a different kind of threat in the backfield that hasn't been seen from this team in some time.
The move would also bring down Gore's attempts per game, which means there would be less opportunities for injury. The benefit of acquiring a rusher like Choice is worth whatever the Cowboys will be asking of their once bitter NFC rivals.
1. San Diego Chargers
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The San Diego Chargers have made significant moves at running back in recent years and 2011 has been no different.
It began when the team cut ties with long time running back and potential Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson and the drafting of Ryan Mathews in 2010 and now this offseason with backup Darren Sproles joining the New Orleans Saints.
With Sproles leaving town for The Big Easy, it might be time for the Chargers to pick up the phone and give Jerry Jones a call.
It was reported last season by reporters such as ESPN Dallas' own Todd Archer and Calvin Watkins that the lightning bolts and America's Team were in trade talks for Choice. The deal was reported to involve the Chargers sending cornerback Antonio Cromartie in exchange for Choice.
The deal obviously never ended up happening, but it would seem more plausible now with the 'Boys trying to shore up their defensive secondary and the Chargers left without a legitimate backup if Mathews were to suffer an injury or simply to spell Mathews during games.
Choice fits that same sort of style that the Chargers were used to with Sproles and though Choice won't be returning any kicks for the Bolts, if he goes there, he would give the team more options in the backfield and provide a respectable and threatening back to plug in whenever needed.
If the Cowboys were somehow able to resurrect these alleged trade talks, they'd be wise to take advantage of the opportunity, especially if Miller continues to impress the coaching staff throughout camp.