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Rare Blockbuster Trade ‘Best Thing’ Cowboys Can Do, Says Ex-NFL Exec

The Dallas Cowboys have begun a long offseason. Head coach Mike McCarthy’s end of the year press conference held on January 19 has calmed any speculations about McCarthy’s job security. Before McCarthy’s latest comments about his future were made, Mike Lombardi, a former NFL executive, urged Jerry Jones to make a run for Saints head coach Sean Payton.

Payton is currently under contract with the Saints to 2026 so the Cowboys will likely need to trade for him. Although coach trades are uncommon, there is precedent. The New York Jets traded Bill Belichick for the New England Patriots 2000 and the Oakland Raiders traded Jon Gruden for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2002.

Lombardi said that Jones making a move to Payton was the “best thing” Jones could have done this offseason.

Lombardi stated that Jerry is too difficult to please during the January 17 episode of The GM Shuffle podcast . “Because you have to give up control if Sean comes in. He had to work with Bill Parcells. But he needed a stadium. Jerry needed a stadium. Parcells was able to help him build it. Parcells was able to help him achieve that goal.

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“But Jerry is 79 years old.” You have to say it to yourself at some point: “But Jerry’s 79 years old, right?” Sean Payton is the best person he could call. It remains to be seen if he does it.

In a December 3 article, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer talked about the trading of NFL coaches. He described how the Cleveland Browns were very close to buying San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh in exchange for two third-round picks. Harbaugh chose to remain in San Francisco.

Breer wrote, “The Harbaugh trade was blown up by the piece that broke it down is an important one.” This isn’t the same as trading a player. The coach’s contract does not travel with him like it does with players. The coach can end any discussion by simply saying no.”

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Breer’s story features ESPN analyst Mike Tannenbaum who was a former general manager of the New York Jets. He described a possible coach trade as “very complex” but not impossible.

Breer said that they are very difficult to do. There are many moving parts. It is rare, but it happens. You need to reach an agreement between the coaches and the new coach, as well as a level of ownership to allow a head coach to move to another location. It can be very complex.”

Breer outlined noteworthy NFL coaching swaps, and their compensation packages.

Breer wrote that the Jets traded their 1997 first-round selection, 1998 second-round choice, and 1997 third- and fourth-round draft picks to the Patriots in exchange for Bill Parcells. (The league required the Jets to make a $300,000.0 donation to Patriots charities to prove everyone was on the same page in the end). Three years later, the Jets traded Bill Belichick and their fifth-, fourth, and seventh-round selections to New England.

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Two years later, the Buccaneers traded their first-round and second round picks in ’02 and 2003 to the Raiders for Jon Gruden. Four years later, the Chiefs gave the Jets a fourth round pick to speed up Kansas City’s hiring of Herm Edwards. New York and Edwards had a kind of mutual parting and Edwards has a long-standing relationship and friendship with Chiefs General Manager Carl Peterson.

Jones has never hidden his love for Payton over the years. He was the Cowboys’ assistant coach and quarterback coach between 2003 and 2005.

Jones would have to fire McCarthy and sign Payton to a contract. Sports Illustrated reports that Payton, who is in his 15th season as Saints’ head coach, earns $9.8 million per year . He is third behind Belichick ($12.5 millions) and Pete Carroll ($11million).

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