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Mailbag: Why not acquire more draft picks?


The Cowboys pride themselves on being a draft and develop team and have largely done well with this strategy. Given that, why don't they do more to acquire additional draft picks? Take some of these players who might be on the fence in terms of eventually re-singing them and deal them now for more draft capital. If you're not locked in to giving those like Markquese Bell, Sam Williams and Mazi Smith big second contracts, why not lean into what you do best? – Phil Taylor/Seattle, WA

Nick Eatman: I disagree with the logic here. Sure, everyone wants more picks, but at some point, guys have to actually suit up and play. The three players you mentioned – and I'm sure that was just three examples – but all of those guys are being counted on to step up and contribute. The Cowboys lost both Armstrong and Fowler … hello Sam Williams. What about Mazi Smith? Yeah, this team lost Hankins and Gallimore. So Smith has to be able to contribute. As for Bell, it'll be interesting to see where Mike Zimmer wants to play him, but he'll likely have a role. And it could be for Jayron Kearse, who has not signed with any team yet. This team has already been somewhat gutted so trading more players away for picks doesn't really make sense. Now, if you get to the draft and the Cowboys really want to add more picks, then it wouldn't hurt to maybe do a deal then. Let's not forget this – Chicago's QB Justin Fields was sent to Pittsburgh for a fifth-round pick. He was a first-rounder who was supposed to be the Bears' franchise quarterback and someone that I think is still a good player. So if he's getting you a fifth, I can't imagine that Mazi, Williams and Bell would get that much either. At least not right now. Things can change when teams are on the clock.

Patrik: Oh, but they have. I say that as a tongue-in-cheek answer, but it's true. It's all in how you're viewing it, but let me tell you how they do: comp picks are a measure of acquiring draft picks, and without having to trade away talent that is mostly homegrown and developed. Take this offseason for example. As I write this, the Cowboys are in line for a total of FOUR compensatory picks in 2025, for losses in this year's free agency spree — likely amounting to four fifth-rounders and a sixth-rounder next April. So, while they're not stacking picks as a result of dealing guys away, which would sacrifice current depth for a later payout, they're simply foregoing paying big money to keep certain guys in the building once they hit the open market (e.g., Dorance Armstrong, Tyler Biadasz, Dante Fowler, etc.) which grants them extra picks while allowing them to keep money on deck for the undeniable extensions to come. It's just how they view it all.

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