The Dallas Cowboys fully committed to their excellent defense, strengthening one of their weaknesses by trading on Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins. trans NFL Network’s Tom PelisseroThe trade swaps Dallas’ 2023 sixth-round pick for the Raiders’ 2024 seventh-round pick, making it one of the cheapest deals that could make a significant impact on nearby teams trade term.

The Cowboys will only have one year left on Hankins’ contract to use, so that won’t stop their efforts to develop Neville Gallimore, who they drafted in the third round of the 2020 draft. Gallimore was a disappointment, losing to 2019 second-round pick Tristen Hill.

Trade Evaluation: Raiders send Johnathan Hankins to Cowboys

The Raiders already had a full complement of picks for the 2023 draft, and that gives them a little more ammunition to move around if they need to, or even to find late-round value. The Cowboys also had the full number of picks, but have now lost their sixth-round pick and traded it for a future seventh-round pick.

Cowboys trade for Hankins

The Cowboys are tied for first in the NFL in total EPA allowed per defensive play, third in EPA for punt return and eighth in EPA for rushing. Much of that has to do with turnovers, as Dallas ranks seventh in passing defense and ninth in passing defense.

They already had a good defense, but they don’t have much of an inside game, and they tried to come up with a rotation at defensive tackle that would allow them to stop the run and rush the inside pass.

Osa Adigizuwa, a pass rusher, leads the interior unit with 15 tackles. Hill and Gallimore combined for eight. Not only that, but they were all washed out in the run game, and Dallas is relying on players like DeMarcus Lawrence, Micah Parsons, Dorrance Armstrong and Leighton Vander Esch to make up the difference.

Hankins has had some trouble sticking to his position the last couple of years, but he’s been a high-level defender throughout his career and may be able to find that again with the impressive defensive support Dallas can provide around him.

While Dak Prescott gets used to playing football after his injury, they will need to continue to rely on their defense to win games. By the time the playoffs roll around, there’s a good chance that Dallas could be fully on the gridiron and become one of the most dangerous teams in the league. Hankins should help with that. If he can play like before.

The trade is cheap, almost free, but it takes a roster spot for a unit that may not need much help and for a player whose best days appear to be behind him.

Grade: B+

The Raiders are moving on from Hankins

Over the past five years, the Raiders have benefited greatly from Hankins, who they signed on a very cheap deal in 2018. But with Hankins seemingly out of steam and exploding — providing value as both a pass rusher and quarterback, the Colts were primarily a nose tackle for the Raiders — he may not play a role on the team.

However, the Raiders rallied from an 0-3 start before falling to a one-point loss to the Chiefs, 2-1. The Raiders really think they’re in this one, but there’s nothing on defense other than Max Crosby and Duron Harmon.

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They’ve had no shortage of nose tackles in Andrew Billings, Bilal Nichols and rookie Neil Farrell Jr., who has been earning more snaps the past few games. This allows them to give Farrell more reps and invest in other defensive positions, such as cornerback, where they lack bodies. They have five cornerbacks on the practice squad and could call up one of those players.

In any case, Hankins was a critical work, but no longer. It wasn’t a huge comeback, but it fits what the Raiders need.

Grade: A-

Hankins gets support

Hankins probably knew he was on the outside looking in, as his snaps have decreased over the past few games while Farrell has seen more snaps. He’s been asked to do quite a bit in this defense and will be asked to do less in Dallas. It should also give him an opportunity to earn a second contract.

Even so, it is not a completely safe environment. It’s a great group of players to play together, but the Cowboys have invested a lot of capital and money at the position, and any one of them could pull Hankins out of the bullpen once again.

Grade: B+