NEW ORLEANS -- The Cowboys are getting calls from other teams about trading the No. 9 overall pick of the draft Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Tuesday from the NFL owners' meetings.
"I’ve already had the opportunity to discuss and been approach by two separate clubs," Jones said. "And not just a general, 'Would you take who?' Would you be interested because they know, you wouldn’t be doing your job if you wouldn’t interested in looking at any opportunity you might have regarding a draft pick or a trade."
Whether or not the Cowboys trade the pick is uncertain, but the Cowboys have all sorts of needs after a 6-10 season that cost coach Wade Phillips his job.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones has said the team has to get the best player available at No. 9. You can laugh if you want, but it's true in so many ways for a team trying to get back to the postseason after failing to reach its goals last year.
Dallas is projected to take either Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara or USC tackle Tyron Smith in mock drafts. However, there is a need to get a tackle, with the possibility of cutting RT Marc Colombo, who is due a $2.6 million roster bonus when the league year starts.
"But what I am and do feel good about is the quality of the players down through that ninth [and] tenth draft position," Jones said. "It certainly enhances the value of that ninth pick because of not only are we gonna have a player that I think will make a difference for us now, we really have the opportunity to move down and are going to have that opportunity, there’s no doubt in my mind about it."
Finding another pass rusher -- outside linebacker Anthony Spencer who has underachieved as he enters the final year of his contract -- seems to be another option, but the best ones could be gone at No. 9. If that's the case, trading down to get defensive ends J.J. Watt of Wisconsin, Cameron Jordan from Cal or Aldon Smith from Missouri in the middle to lower part of the first round would be an interesting move.
Moving down in the first round could also be a cost-cutting measure for the Cowboys, who might cut payroll to get under a salary cap for 2011. The league's proposed $114 million cap for 2011 was rejected by the union, and the Cowboys currently have an NFL-high $137 million devoted to player salaries this year.
It's doubtful a cap of $114 million will be in play for 2011 but the Cowboys have plenty of high salaried players in DeMarcus Ware ($11.3 million cap number), Tony Romo ($12.9 million cap number) and Terence Newman ($10 million cap number).
Jones has said he expects his team to have another high payroll in 2011, most likely the highest in the league for the second consecutive year.