The Cowboys Are Not Going to Trade For Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor
Jonathan Taylor / Adam Bettcher/GettyImages

When reports emerged on Monday that the Indianapolis Colts had granted Jonathan Taylor permission to seek a trade, many possible trade partners were thrown about in theoretical transactions. The Dallas Cowboys were regularly included. Even The Big Lead threw their name into the mix when the schism between Taylor and the Colts first began to grow earlier in the summer. And one not need be a rocket scientist to understand why.

The Cowboys cut Ezekiel Elliott after Tony Pollard broke his leg late in the season. The meaningful moves they made to replenish the RB room was draft the very-small Deuce Vaughn and sign Ronald Jones, who got frozen out of the Kansas City offense last season. It seems their hopes are riding largely on Pollard's ability to recover quickly from his injury and get back on the field without missing a step. Even in an NFL where the running back position is not nearly as valued, it's not an ideal scenario for an alleged Super Bowl contender.

Above all, though, they are the Cowboys. Putting them into articles and talk show segments draws attention and engagement. America's Team and all that. There is a reason Cris Collinsworth said NBC would sign up for 17 Cowboys games on SNF if they could. In the last two days ESPN has run two separate segments on two different shows discussing Taylor's fit in Dallas.

They aren't the only ones having this discussion but ESPN more or less sets the tone for sports discussion among the masses every day so it's become a big talking point. I am here to tell you that it is all for naught and the Cowboys will not trade for Taylor.

The first reason is easily the most important-- as of now, the price is too high and the Cowboys' need too low. Would it be nice to add a talent like Taylor to the RB room? Of course. Is doing so worth a first-round, second-round, or even third-round pick? No, it is not. NFL teams do not give up good draft picks for luxury additions anymore and that's what Taylor is. The Colts are not going to sell low on Taylor. They want a good pick and for a team like the Cowboys, stocked to the brim with veterans on big deals, the chance to draft cheap contributors in the future is more valuable.

Speaking of money, that's the other primary issue with all these hypotheticals. Dallas is not over the cap but they aren't overflowing with cash, either. The Cowboys have about $9 million in cap space. Taylor's cap hit is worth $5 million on his current deal. While his skills far outweigh that number, we return again to the idea of need vs. luxury. Do the Cowboys need to eat up half their remaining cap space for a player they view as a luxury? No, they do not.

And that's before you get into the idea that anybody who trades for Taylor is presumably going to give him a contract extension. That's the whole reason he wants out of Indy, after all. It goes to reason that a condition of any Taylor trade is that he will receive a new deal and the sort of cap hit that comes with it. The Cowboys are among the teams who can't really afford to do that if they have any interest in cap flexibility going forward. They have seven players under contract for 2024 with cap hits north of $10 million and the only one who they might move is Brandin Cooks. The rest-- Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, Trevon Diggs-- are core pieces.

It's not hard to move money around and make space for smaller moves. It's much harder to do so for a deal the size Taylor is looking for. The Cowboys certainly could trade for Taylor and not pay him but that's a pretty significant risk for everybody involved.

It would be fun to see Taylor in a dangerous offense the likes of which the Cowboys are going to boast next year. It just is not feasible in any way, shape, or form unless the Colts are willing to give him away for free and Taylor is fine playing on the deal that he's currently holding out over. Neither of those seem likely. A trade to the Cowboys even less so.