Photo by Elizabeth Lavin.

Sports & Leisure

The Cowboys Should Trade Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott for Deshaun Watson

Deal would also include a fair amount of chaos.

If you want to win in anything, you have to take risks. The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. I could keep going with clichés all day, because we are talking about sports, and sports—especially football—are built on clichés, like a giant sedimentary rock of Successories motivational posters and Coach Eric Taylor halftime speeches.

So here is a big risk: the Cowboys should trade Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott for Houston Texans wantaway QB Deshaun Watson.

I’m not going to get into the fine print of what the deal would have to entail to work for both sides. I assume some picks going both ways and maybe another player or two for ballast. And, yes, the Cowboys would have to franchise Dak again so he’s under contract. Leave all that aside and let’s just focus on Dak/Zeke for Deshaun.

From the Dallas end: Dak is good but Deshaun is an all-timer. Dak was a better deal when he was on the low-cost rookie contract of a mid-rounder. Not really as much now that he will cost $40 million or whatever the number ends up being. And coming off his season-ending ankle injury, a bit more of a risk than he was. Zeke’s contract was almost immediately shown to be a huge, huge mistake, regardless of extenuating circumstances (injuries to almost every member of the vaunted offensive line, no Dak, etc.). With a healthy (or healthier) line and Watson throwing to these receivers, you don’t even need a prime-era Zeke at running back.

From the Houston end: Deshaun is an all-timer but he wants out and Dak is good and still will only be 28 when next season begins. He was playing his best football before he got injured. He’ll cost a lot, but that’s what quality QBs do. Zeke will probably bounce back from his bad season and being traded in-state will no doubt give him even more motivation to do so. I also feel like Texans CEO Cal McNair might see taking Jerry Jones’ top two stars in one deal as winning the trade. (And maybe that will be the case, at least for a season.)

More than any of this, this is first-segment-on-SportsCenter news for probably a week or two, especially with nothing other than the NBA and NHL to compete with, and that’s exactly the sort of chaos Jerry Jones loves. I truly believe it will make the team better but keeping the franchise relevant and top of mind is at least as much of a concern, if the past few decades have shown us anything.

I mean, Jerry won’t do this because it would mean admitting a wrong (Zeke’s contract and maybe even the larger point of drafting Zeke in the first round to begin with) and also undoing arguably the biggest GM win he’s had (getting Dak in the fourth round, making him the team’s potential Tom Brady). [super-average-sports-columnist-at-daily-newspaper hard return]

But he should.

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