The Dallas Cowboys did the unthinkable on draft night by making a trade inside the NFC East with the rival Philadelphia Eagles. It is a move that did not sit well with the Giants who, like the Eagles, were targeting Alabama wide receiver Devonta Smith at No. 11. An SEC defensive coordinator told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg that the Giants were “livid” about the Cowboys-Eagles deal.
“Coaches expected the SEC’s top three receiver prospects — Waddle, teammate DeVonta Smith and Chase — to go in the top 10,” Rittenberg explained. “An SEC assistant said the Miami Dolphins would take Waddle or Smith, if available, and an SEC head coach said Philadelphia ‘got a steal in DeVonta,’ likening the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner to former Eagles star DeSean Jackson. An SEC defensive coordinator added, ‘The Giants wanted DeVonta bad. They were pretty livid when Philly moved in front of them.’”
The Cowboys may not be receiving any holiday cards from the Giants, but the reality is Dallas was going to face Smith two times a year inside the division regardless of whether they did the deal or not. When the top two corners went off the board in back-to-back picks ahead of the Cowboys, Micah Parsons became Dallas’ top target. The Cowboys were able to move back two spots to No. 12 and still select Parsons while also gaining a third-round pick.
Dallas landed Iowa pass rusher Chauncey Golston with the No. 84 pick that they acquired in the Eagles deal and some added animosity from the Giants. The Cowboys would have undoubtedly done a similar deal with the Giants if they had a better offer than the Eagles. The Giants front office needed to be more proactive if they wanted to ensure they were able to select Smith.
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Stephen Jones on Cowboys-Eagles Trade: ‘We Didn’t Want to Go Too Far Back Because We Did Really Like Micah’
With both Justin Fields and Mac Jones remaining on the board, the Cowboys likely had other opportunities to move further down the draft while swapping selections with quarterback-needy teams. Cowboys CEO Stephen Jones indicated the Cowboys did not want to move much further than the No. 12 pick because they still wanted to snag Parsons.
“We were really pleased with what was on our board,” Jones explained, per DallasCowboys.com. “The need stuck out there a little bit with the corners, but we had some players that were rated ahead of the corners on natural grades. We were sitting there at 10 and we didn’t want to go too far back because we did really like Micah and we didn’t want to get in a position where we didn’t think we could get him.”
Roseman on Cowboys: ‘It’s Always Been a Good Relationship’
There is a strong argument to be made that teams should take the best available trade even if it is from a division rival. Once it became clear that Smith was landing with either the Giants or Eagles, the Cowboys had little reason not to do the deal inside the division. Despite the on-field rivalry, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman revealed the two franchises maintain a good relationship.
“When you trade in the division, you understand that you’re not gonna get any values to that,” Roseman noted, via ESPN.com. It’s gonna have to work for them, as well. They got who they wanted, and we got who we wanted. It’s always been a good relationship. It’s respect for their organization, and certainly, Mr. Jones, Jerry, and Stephen, we have a lot of respect for them, as well, competing against them.”