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March 28, 2012

Cowboys' free agency haul is letting Jerry Jones think about a trade down

Jerry Jones believes free agency went so well for the Cowboys, he can consider draft trades more easily.

Now that they don’t have to count on the draft to fill a particular position, the Cowboys can entertain a move down or a move up in the draft, which starts April 26.

Jerry explained, in his way, from the NFL owners meetings in Florida on Tuesday:

“In general, and really because of how well we did in free agency, we will be able to draft or trade,” he said. “In other words, we could easily have a situation that’s in our best interest. But if you just had to have that safety or that offensive lineman, you might not have been able to make a trade you wanted to make and go down. Or possibly go up. So my point is, free agency helped us normally, purely look at how we can best improve the personnel on this team through the draft, whether it be trading or just picking the player.”

What that means is basically that the Cowboys can afford to let the draft come to them because they can pick from a number of positions – offensive line, outside pass rusher, cornerback, defensive end and defensive tackle, for example. If they believe, say around pick 10 or 12, that there will be plenty of options by the time their pick comes at 14, they can think about a trade down. They wouldn’t have been able to think that way if they desperately had to have a cornerback, for example.

“You’ve still got to look and say you can’t put a first-round pick on a guy that’s basically going to be a backup for four years,” Jones said. “That would be hard to do. Be careful about putting that first-round pick on a tight end when you’ve got Jason Witten sitting over there. That guy’s going to be the second tight end for the next several years. You’ve got to think like that. But in general, it allowed us to do all of this kind of decisions.”

The signings of guards Mackenzie Bernardeau and Nate Livings have given the Cowboys two fallbacks in case they don't have a chance, or choose not to, draft Stanford guard David DeCastro with the 14th pick.

"It left us totally flexible there," Jones said of the guard signings. "You might want to move down and pick up a player that’s going to be there rather than being at your 14th. You might not have been able to do that had you not had the success that we had in free agency."

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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