IRVING, Texas – NFL rules don't allow Cowboys executives to discuss players under contract with other clubs. That's why, despite constant speculation that Dallas might attempt to trade for Adrian Peterson, you haven't heard any members of the team's front office talk about it directly.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones addressed the situation indirectly on Tuesday, however, as the front office continues to gear up for next week's NFL draft. In an interview with 105.3 The Fan, Jones was asked about the possibility of trading some of the Cowboys' seven draft picks in exchange for a running back – an obvious allusion to a potential deal for Peterson.
"I don't see that happening," Jones said.
Peterson was reinstated by the NFL last week after spending most of last season on the commissioner's exempt list while facing child abuse charges in Texas. After being suspended for the final six games of 2014, the All-Pro running back won't serve any additional games this year.
That fact has been enough to fuel speculation that the Cowboys could attempt to trade draft picks – and perhaps players – to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for the Texas native.
To hear it from Jones, though, those very draft picks are too important to use as bartering tools. The Cowboys have used their draft picks to revamp several key aspects of their roster in recent years – most notably their offensive line.
"Draft picks are so important for us, and that's where your value is in the salary cap era. I see us using all of our picks and hopefully doing it in a good, wise way," Jones said. "Hopefully, when the draft is all said and done, we'll have really improved our football team, but I don't see us using our picks to trade for veteran ballplayers."
Peterson is widely considered the best running back in the league right now, which means he'd likely command a high price in terms of picks, players or both. The Cowboys select 27th, 60th and 91st on the first two days of next week's draft.
Teams are widely known to misdirect during the lead up to the draft, which is one of the most important weekends of the offseason. But it certainly sounds like the Cowboys are content to build through the draft.