Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

With the NFL trade deadline on the horizon, who should the Cowboys go after?

Chloe Williams

Amidst one of the brightest stretches the franchise has experienced since the 1990s, the Dallas Cowboys are one of the few teams in the National Football League with realistic Super Bowl aspirations in 2023. Having been over 27 years since America’s team made a deep run in the playoffs, they made a number of moves in the offseason to shore up weak spots on the roster and build on the success of the previous two years. Three games into the new season however, the Cowboys are already facing obstacles that could hinder their chances of making a run. And with the trade deadline being a month away, time is ticking on the opportunity to bring in the piece that could push them over the hump. But the question remains: who exactly is that piece?

#1 – Jaylon Johnson — Chicago Bears, Cornerback

After Trevon Diggs experienced a devastating season-ending ACL tear in practice, it is clear the Cowboys are in need of help at the cornerback position. The signing of Stephon Gilmore in the offseason was imperative as it took pressure off Diggs and added depth to a secondary who only had one viable option. Diggs and Gilmore seemed to be one of the best cornerback duos in the league this season, but the unfortunate injury to Diggs sets the Cowboys back even further than before the offseason signings. Being 33 years old, Gilmore is still one of the better corners in the NFL, but not good enough to shoulder the load of a banged-up secondary. Luckily for the Cowboys, Chicago Bears’ cornerback Jaylon Johnson is one of the brighter young corners in the league. He could potentially be moved, given the current state of the Bears. Johnson had a solid year for the Bears in 2022, specifically having seven passes defensed and one forced fumble, allowing only one touchdown according to Pro Football Reference and going toe to toe with a Cowboy’s division foe in Philadelphia Eagles star wide receiver A.J. Brown. The Bear’s cornerback would also come cheap to the Cowboys, as he is on the last year of his rookie contract and the most they would need to give up for him would be a 4th round pick. Jaylon Johnson seems to be the most reasonable option to fill the enormous void left by Trevon Diggs, and if the Chicago Bears continue to struggle as immensely as they have, the team will be looking to trade players like Johnson in order to gain draft capital.

#2 – Patrick Queen — Baltimore Ravens, Linebacker

Despite boasting one of the better defenses in the NFL, the Cowboys in 2023 statistically have not been good at stopping the run. They rank 25 out of 32 in terms of fewest rushing yards allowed. They have also given up 394 rushing yards in their first three games this season. Part of this is due to the amount of safeties defensive coordinator Dan Quinn implements in the Cowboys’ defensive scheme, but it is also due to a linebacking core that lacks major depth aside from longtime starter Leighton Vander Esch. This issue could be fixed with Baltimore Ravens linebacker, Patrick Queen. After the addition of superstar linebacker Roquan Smith last season, Queen elevated his game in every faucet and has shown to be one of the more consistent and productive players on a formidable Ravens’ defense. In the first three games of the Ravens’ 2023 season, he’s tallied 31 total tackles, one sack and has been a cog for a defense that has continued the success they experienced in 2022. Adding him would fill a big positional need for the Dallas Cowboys, as he would provide coverage ability as well as help out Vander Esch in stuffing runs. Queen to the Cowboys feels slightly far-fetched considering how well he has played for a Ravens’ team that, just like the Cowboys, have a real shot at making a run to the Super Bowl. However, considering this is Queen’s last year on his rookie contract, a move to Dallas is not out of the realm of possibility. Baltimore also drafted linebacker Trenton Simpson in the 2023 NFL draft in hopes of filling Queen’s spot alongside Roquan Smith. With the possibility that the Baltimore Ravens look to gain assets out of Queen rather than lose him for nothing in the offseason, it would be foolish for the Cowboys not to offer what they can to elevate a Super Bowl-contending defense.

#3 – Zach Ertz — Arizona Cardinals, Tight End

Although the Cowboys have pieces with potential at the tight end position, we have yet to see any of them stand out. This was apparent during the Cowboys’ disappointing loss last Sunday against the lowly Arizona Cardinals, as in five red zone trips Dallas was only able to muster up one touchdown. It’s evident quarterback Dak Prescott needs an established tight end to help relieve pressure off not just him, but star wide receiver Ceedee Lamb as well. Ironically enough, the very team whom they lost to has the perfect answer to bolster that position. Despite getting up there in age, Zach Ertz remains one of the better tight ends in the NFL, and he would be a great addition to a Cowboys offense, which needed help getting the ball in the endzone last Sunday. Ertz put up rather pedestrian numbers in 2022, but this was largely due to being part of an Arizona Cardinals team that struggled immensely as they faced an incredibly tough schedule and dealt with numerous debilitating injuries. They continue to struggle this season as they appear to be moving into a rebuilding stage. Trading Ertz to the Cowboys makes sense for both sides, as the Cardinals would get draft capital that they could use to strengthen the many holes they have on their roster, while the Cowboys could use Ertz and his capabilities to provide a cushion and red zone threat for Dak Prescott, while also adding a veteran presence to a young tight end core that appears to be experiencing growing pains.

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About the Contributors
Aramis Santiago, Staff Writer

Hey, I'm Aramis (he/him). I am a 22 year old, freshman, communication major here at UTSA. He has a  passion for sports, specifically football and basketball, and to a lesser degree, baseball and UFC as well. My goal is to have a job lined up after graduating for journalism where I can talk and write about sports for a living. I also love food and listening to music. I enjoy eating from any place and mainly listen to reggaeton, R&B, and hip-hop. My hobbies whenever I am not working or going to school are watching sports, working out, hanging out with friends, listening to music, playing video games, and I've recently started reading as well. I was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico in 2000, moved to Baltimore, Maryland with my parents in 2006, and moved to San Antonio, Texas in 2010 where I’ve stayed ever since. I’m also a diehard fan of the Baltimore Ravens, haven’t missed a game since 2014 and will continue watching them for as long as I can breathe.

Chloe Williams, Managing Editor
Chloe (she/her) is a senior majoring in Business Marketing with a minor in Adaptive Decision Business Models. On her off days you can find Chloe thrifting, being a self-proclaimed food critic or outside enjoying nature. This is her third year at The Paisano and she is excited to serve as Managing Editor.

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