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Why the fifth-year option could help Cowboys on draft day

IRVING, Texas -- With the 27th pick in the first round, the Dallas Cowboys could be in an advantageous position.

Maybe not to get the player they prefer in the first round, but to have to the chance to have more than seven draft picks.

With the advent of the fifth-year option on first-round picks, there is added value to those selections. What team wouldn't want to guarantee a fifth year for a player that has been a starter without having to use a franchise or transition tag?

The Miami Dolphins gave center Mike Pouncey a contract over the weekend that guaranteed him $22 million. The Cowboys can delay a decision on a long-term extension for Travis Frederick, their Pro Bowl center, if they want because of the fifth-year option.

So for a team looking to move up to the end of the first round, the value in a trade has to account for the fifth-year option.

Last year, the Minnesota Vikings gave up picks Nos. 40 and 108 to the Seattle Seahawks to take quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with the final pick of the first round. In 2013, the Vikings gave up picks Nos. 52, 83, 102 and 229 for the 29th overall pick in a trade with the New England Patriots to take wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

In 2012, the Patriots received picks Nos. 36 and 101 from Tampa for the 31st and 126th pick so the Bucs could take running back Doug Martin. The Vikings picked up Harrison Smith with the 29th pick after giving the Baltimore Ravens picks Nos. 35 and 98.

In 2011, the New Orleans Saints traded with the Patriots at No. 28 to take Mark Ingram for a second-round pick and their first-rounder in 2012.

At No. 27, the Cowboys could find themselves in a sweet spot to move down and acquire more picks. If they stand pat, cornerbacks such as Byron Jones, Kevin Johnson and Marcus Peters could be available, or they could pick up an extra second- or third-rounder to find a cornerback a little later (P.J. Williams?) while having the ability to fill their needs at running back and defensive line or offensive line.

Currently the Cowboys have three picks in the top 91 selections. In the more is better department, gaining two more picks inside that range could allow them better flexibility in terms of matching up value and a player’s ability with need.