A potential trade scenario sees the Dallas Cowboys acquire a five-time Pro Bowl star.
As proposed by Inside the Star’s Pat Schuster, a potential trade sees the Cowboys acquire Indianapolis Colts cornerback Stephon Gilmore in exchange for offensive lineman Matt Farniok, a fifth-round draft pick in the 2023 NFL draft and a conditional 2024 draft pick.
Schuster argues that the Colts would benefit by shedding massive money after unloading Gilmore in a trade.
“Indianapolis is rebuilding, and Stephon Gilmore will be 33 years old at the start of the season,” says Schuster. “He should be open to a trade to a playoff team over being stuck on a team rebuilding. With this trade, Indianapolis gains roughly 10 million in cap space, an offensive lineman under contract until 2025, and some additional draft capital. If Gilmore is released or traded, the cap relief is the same for the Colts, so getting some in return is always a benefit.”
Meanwhile, the Cowboys acquire a much-needed starter at cornerback opposite of Trevon Diggs in Gilmore. Although Gilmore will be 33 years old during the 2023 season, he remains a top-tier corner, notching a career-high 66 tackles last season. Furthermore, he played in 99 percent of the defensive snaps while allowing a completion percentage of just 56.2% on passes thrown his way — his lowest mark since the 2019 season.
“Dallas’s defense and team success took a hit when Anthony Brown went out with a significant injury,” said Schuster. “Adding Gilmore allows Dallas to lock up both corner spots while keeping the position as a draft need but not reaching like the 2021 draft.”
It’s no secret Dallas had a big void following Anthony Brown’s season-ending injury in Week 13. The Cowboys cycled through a number of options at cornerback, including signing veterans Trayvon Mullen and Mackensie Alexander late in the season.
According to Pro Football Focus, DaRon Bland (66.0) was the only cornerback on Dallas’ roster to come close to posting a similar defensive grade to Diggs (67.6). The Cowboys’ other cornerbacks were all a little underwhelming while playing substantial snaps, with Kelvin Joseph (49.2 grade), Jourdan Lewis (59.1 grade), Nahshon Wright (51.8 grade) and Brown (55.0 grade) all posting lower grades.
The Cowboys won’t have that problem in Gilmore. Gilmore posted a 79.1 overall defensive grade and an 81.1 grade in coverage. His overall defensive grade ranked 11th among all cornerbacks while his coverage grade ranked seventh.
There’s obviously always the concern than an aging cornerback can drop off at any moment. But when looking at Gilmore’s stellar grades in coverage combined with his durability, it’s hard to believe that the veteran cornerback will be a victim of that. It’s even more impressive considering Gilmore was surrounded by an underwhelming supporting cast. The Colts’ defense ranked 28th in the NFL in points allowed.
It also doesn’t hurt that Dallas is looking for any affordable contracts they can get. Gilmore’s cap hit is a shade under $12 million for the 2023 season, which ranks at just 18th among all cornerbacks.
The Cowboys will be entering a make-or-break season of sorts in 2023. It’s clear that as Dallas enters its fourth season with Mike McCarthy as head coach, they’ll have to advance further than the divisional round of the playoffs.
Acquiring Gilmore — who has a plethora of playoff experience and a Super Bowl ring as a former member of the New England Patriots — could be a key move that molds the Cowboys into a true Super Bowl contender.