Dallas Cowboys

How much would it cost for the Cowboys to trade for Rob Gronkowski?

Could the Cowboys fill the hole left by future hall-of-famer Jason Witten with another Canton-bound tight end?

Yep, we're talking about Gronk.

But how could Dallas actually end up with the Patriots' Rob Gronkowski?

Last spring, New England restructured a deal that, when it was signed in 2012, was a record for a tight end at $54 million over six years, which included $18.17 million guaranteed.

Under those terms, Gronkowski earned a base salary of $10.75 million this past season. He's set to earn a base salary of $8 million in 2018 and $9 million in 2019, according to Spotrac.com). As of this moment, he has the highest cap hit and second-highest base salary of all tight ends in the NFL, behind Washington's Jordan Reed.

From a financial standpoint, the Cowboys would almost certainly have to wait until next offseason. Accounting for their recent draft picks, Dallas has $8,305,469 in cap space, which puts them in the bottom-third of in the NFL. Part of the reason the franchise will carry a dead-cap hit of $17.9 million for next season is due to the the retirement of Tony Romo in April of 2017, as well as the release of wide receiver Dez Bryant this past April.

The following offseason is where there's more room to play. Dak Prescott will be eligible to negotiate a contract after this season, but if his sophomore-season regression becomes a trend, the Cowboys could roll the dice by postponing that negotiation until the 2020 offseason.

That means the team would have roughly $51.5 million in cap space for the 2019-2020 season, according to Spotrac.com.

If All-Pro guard Zack Martin and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (currently signed under the franchise tag) remain productive and stay healthy, their contract extensions are going to be costly. If the markets at those positions stay close to what they are now, Martin and Lawrence could carry a 2019 cap-hit around $17 million and $20 million, respectively.

The front office would have to move on from one of those players to make room for Gronkowski's projected 12-million-dollar cap hit in 2019. In order to justify that move, Jones would likely need to hand the tight end a contract extension that would pay him near or at the top of the market.

Other contending teams around the league have and will likely to continue to make calls to New England, which could raise the asking price. But if Gronkowski's occasional buffoonery and, or, injury issues flare up, Belichick could decide to cut his losses. If that moment comes after this coming season, the cost of adding the future hall-of-famer might only be a second or even a third-round draft pick at best.

At this stage in his career, Gronkowski represents a relatively high-risk, high-reward player who would provide Prescott with an excellent target over the middle of the field and in the red zone. Taking on his personality and behavior might just make him the big splash Jerry Jones is usually looking to make.

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