Sports Outside the Beltway

Cowboys Looking to Trade Pick for Star WR

Since trading their 2007 first round pick — and the rights to draft Brady Quinn — to the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys fans have been salivating over the possibility of picking up Arkansas running back sensation Darren McFadden. Cleveland has a much better season than anyone expected but, still, many fans have hoped Jerry Jones would package the Cowboys’ two #1s this year — and throw in a player if needed — to trade up and get McFadden.

Rick Gosselin reports, though, that Jones has other ideas.

“The [Arkansas] games are played on Saturday,” Jones said during a break at the annual NFL spring meeting. “So I can get all of the pigs I want at a lot less cost by running up there Saturday than by screwing up my plan here trying to put a Razorback on the Cowboys. I’m not sitting here having cravings for the red.”

Mixed into that quote were two key words – my plan.

The first two steps of the plan have already been implemented. Jones re-signed Pro Bowl left tackle Flozell Adams to protect Romo’s blind side. Jones also made offensive coordinator Jason Garrett one of the NFL’s highest-paid assistants so that he can continue molding Romo into a Super Bowl quarterback.

Jones has no doubts that’s Romo’s destiny. “The perception of Tony – his competitiveness, his splash, the whole picture of him as a quarterback – fits what is ideal from my perspective as the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys,” Jones said. “I like it all.”

Jones would like Romo’s persona even more with an offensive cast like the one Tom Brady enjoyed in New England last season. The Cowboys already have their Randy Moss in Terrell Owens. What the Cowboys need is a Wes Welker – that second attractive downfield option.

If the Cowboys traded away their two first-round picks for McFadden, they would lose all leverage in acquiring that second elite receiver. If McFadden became a Cowboy, Jones would be giving Romo a part-time running back. McFadden would split the carries with Pro Bowl halfback Marion Barber.

By keeping his two first-rounders, Jones probably would still land an elite running back with the 22nd overall pick, either Jonathan Stewart of Oregon or Felix Jones of Arkansas. With the 28th overall pick, the Cowboys might have a choice of wide receivers Malcolm Kelly of Oklahoma or DeSean Jackson of Cal.

But the Cowboys may have even better options. “There might be great value for our team with some of that collateral we have with those [first-round] picks,” Jones said. “What if someone wants to give us a hell of a player that really fit and improved our offense? That’s the kind of universe I can conjure up. We could set up here and get a premium receiver on the other side of Terrell and have a tandem.”

How would Chad Johnson look on the other side of Owens? Or Anquan Boldin? Or Roy Williams? All are Pro Bowl wide receivers. Johnson is 30, Boldin 27 and Williams 26. All might be available when the Cowboys go on the clock at 28.

A first-round draft pick straight up for a Williams or a Boldin might look far more attractive to the Bengals or Lions when they’re on the clock than it does today.

“If there’s a premier player out there, you have to ask what does he do to make Romo – and in the process, our offense – better?” Jones said. “The No. 1 thing I’m looking for is what can I do to make Romo better.”

I’m not keen on Chad Johnson. Aside from his antics, he’d be a rent-a-player at his age and the team just doesn’t need another 30-something wide receiver. First rounders ought be around for a few years at a high level. But a Williams or a Boldin? I’d do that deal in a heartbeat.

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