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Mailbag: Why Didn't The Cowboys Get More Value From Compensatory Picks?

JACK KERFOOT

PORTLAND, OR

I realize the Cowboys have made very few trades for high profile veterans over the past few years. However, I have read Pittsburgh is looking to trade Martavis Bryant. Given his size and speed, wouldn't it make sense to try and trade for him? If he performs well, then they could try and sign him before he hits free agency 2019.

David:Credit to you for thinking outside the box, at least. This is exactly the type of aggressive move I've said I'd like to see the Cowboys make. You could probably acquire a guy like Bryant for a low price, and you're not overly committed to him if it doesn't pan out. It's intriguing. But given this front office's recent history, I don't really see it happening. Who knows, though. Maybe I'm wrong.

Rob: I'm on record saying I'd keep Dez Bryant, avoid more dead money on the salary cap, and figure out a way to find more consistency from Bryant and Dak Prescott. It can be done. We saw it for the better part of 2016 – and some of that had to do with a healthier, more productive offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott on the field. Listening to Bryant on 105.3 The Fan last Friday, he wants to be here, and he's highly motivated to get this right.


JEREMY CRENSHAW


ANNA, TX

How did the Cowboys not get at least two 4th-Round picks for Leary and Church? From the predictions that I read, the Cowboys were due two 4th's and two 5th's, with maybe a 4th being bumped to a 3rd. Now, they are getting one 4th for two starters that played all year at a high level? Are we getting screwed again by the NFL front office?

David:I don't think that's the case at all. The compensatory pick formula is simply pretty strict. The league weighs the cost of the contract and the amount of playing time as the main variables for a compensatory pick. For example, Cincinnati, Arizona and Houston all received compensatory picks for Kevin Zeitler, Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye. Those guys received contracts worth $60 million, $60 million and $67 million, respectively. For comparison, Ron Leary signed for $35 million and Barry Church signed for $26 million. 

Rob: I won't pretend to be an expert on the compensatory formula, but here's the way I see it: The Cowboys lost a bunch of free agents, but no one to a major long-term deal. You're right, they didn't get a third-round pick – the highest possible round for a compensatory pick – or even two fourths, but they did get the maximum number of picks (four). It's still a nice haul that gives them more flexibility to potentially move around in this draft if needed.

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