3 Players the Cowboys Should Target at the 2021 NFL Trade Deadline

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistOctober 13, 2021

3 Players the Cowboys Should Target at the 2021 NFL Trade Deadline

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    Through five weeks of the season, the Dallas Cowboys are Super Bowl contenders. Any notion to the contrary is ignoring how the team has played through the first five weeks of the season. 

    After dropping the season opener to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Cowboys have ripped off four wins in a row. The level of competition may be questionable, but the level of execution the Cowboys have had—especially on offense—is not. 

    They have put up at least 36 points in each of the last three games and are also the only team to beat the Los Angeles Chargers thus far. 

    Still, no roster is perfect, and the Cowboys have areas where reinforcements would help. With legitimate Super Bowl aspirations comes the added pressure to make some moves down the stretch that could be the difference come playoff time. 

    With a roster that is set up to compete, the Cowboys should be buyers when the NFL trade deadline approaches. Here's a look at three players Jerry Jones should at least inquire about as the season progresses. 

S Marcus Maye, New York Jets

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    This would be an aggressive move, but one that could pay big dividends. 

    The Cowboys' secondary remains one of the biggest obstacles to reaching their potential. Through five games, Dallas is allowing 7.9 yards per passing attempt, which is tied for 20th in the league. 

    Trevon Diggs is one of the few reasons the unit isn't bad, but the play of the safeties and corners outside of Diggs leaves a lot to be desired. 

    Adding Marcus Maye to the fold could help. Maye has only played in three games for the Jets this season but has allowed no touchdowns and a passer rating of 83.3 when targeted. 

    Adding the safety could be complicated, though. It would be a tight squeeze financially. Maye would be owed around $6 million if traded near the deadline, and the team is closer to dealing him because of a DUI charge that could have him facing a suspension from the league, per Rich Cimini of ESPN. 

    The Cowboys have been aggressive in addressing their safety issues, bringing in Jayron Kearse, Malik Hooker and Damontae Kazee. Yet, it's still a position that could be improved, and Maye would fit that bill. 

CB Joe Haden, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    It isn't just the safeties that could use an infusion of new talent. Outside of Diggs, the cornerback play has been rough for Dallas. 

    While Diggs is holding opposing quarterbacks to a 28.4 passer rating, Anthony Brown has given up two touchdowns and a passer rating of 92.4. Jourdan Lewis hasn't been much better in the slot, giving up a rating of 107.2

    The options on the bench aren't inspiring either. Maurice Canady has given up a touchdown and 55 yards on just three targets after a phenomenal preseason. Nahshon Wright was drafted as a project. Putting him out on the field this early could hinder his development and confidence. 

    Instead, the Cowboys might want to turn to the trade market to find a veteran. 

    Depending on how the next few weeks go in Pittsburgh, the Steelers could be sellers come deadline time. They are 2-3 and in last place in the AFC North. 

    That may make them willing to part with an expensive veteran like Joe Haden. The 32-year-old is in the final year of his contract, and Pittsburgh will have more pressing needs to re-sign in free agency next season. 

    He has allowed a passer rating of 75.9 or less in each of the last three full seasons. His veteran leadership and experience could be the boost the secondary needs. 

DT Michael Brockers, Detroit Lions

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    Osa Odighizuwa has accounted for two sacks this season. The rest of the Cowboys' defensive tackles have combined for none. Brent Urban has two pressures on the year. 

    The interior of the defensive line isn't anchoring a nasty run defense either. They are giving up 4.2 yards per carry, which puts them 14th in the league. 

    Rescuing Michael Brockers from the depths of Detroit Lions football could be a move that helps them in both regards. The Rams sent the 31-year-old to Detroit this offseason and, much like the rest of the team, he hasn't had great production.

    In 2020, Brockers had five sacks, five tackles for a loss and 51 combined tackles. So far this season, he has one sack and two tackles for a loss. 

    A lot of that could be a product of playing on a bad team that hasn't put up much fight since the season started. 

    The Lions should be looking to sell come deadline time, and they could have just the right player for the Cowboys. 


    All advanced statistics and snap counts via Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted. 


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