By trading four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Everson Griffen on Tuesday, the Dallas Cowboys may have started the process of packing it in for this season and planning for the future.
The Cowboys are 2-5 and technically still in the race for the NFC East division crown, but they are missing their starting quarterback Dak Prescott (ankle) for the season, and backup QB Andy Dalton will probably miss this week's game against the Philadelphia Eagles with a concussion. Third-string rookie QB Ben DiNucci will start if Dalton can't play.
Even with Dalton, Dallas didn't look anything close to a playoff team in last Sunday's 25-3 loss to Washington.
Cowboys' NFL-worst defense could get worse
The Cowboys have the NFL's worst defense, giving up 34.7 points per game. So trading one of their most talented and decorated defenders doesn't make a whole lot of sense on the surface.
However, by sending Griffen to the Detroit Lions for a conditional draft pick -- it's reported to be a fifth- or sixth-rounder in the 2021 NFL Draft -- the Cowboys are saving about $3 million toward the salary cap. They're also creating more playing time for their younger players to develop.
These are the kinds of moves made by teams that are not necessarily trying to win right now, but instead setting things up for later down the road.
The Lions, meanwhile, are apparently still trying to win in 2020.
Detroit is 3-3 and sitting in third place in the NFC North behind the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. The Lions' defense ranks in the bottom half of the league, and they can surely benefit from adding Griffen to their D-line.
The Lions only have eight sacks as a team this season, which ranks 28th out of 32 teams in the league. Defensive end Romeo Okwara leads the Lions with four sacks, half of the team's total. Only three other Detroit players have recorded a sack this season. Griffen has 2.5 sacks this season and 14 quarterback pressures.
Griffen is 32 years old and in his 11th NFL season. At his peak with the Minnesota Vikings, Griffen registered double-digit sacks in three out of four seasons between 2014 and 2017. He made the Pro Bowl for the fourth time last season when he recorded eight sacks for the Vikings.
This past offseason, Griffen signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Cowboys.Published 28 Oct 2020, 06:19 IST