There are two ways to interpret what's transpired in Dallas the past few days.
Since getting their doors blown off by Washington 25-3 on Sunday, the Cowboys have taken an honest assessment of their current situation and didn't like what they saw. With no Dak Prescott after his horrific leg injury, and players who apparently don't want to play for a coach who's in the first of a five-year deal, Dallas has decided to blow it all up, unloading Everson Griffen, Dontari Poe and Daryl Worley in a matter of days.
What's certain is Dallas acknowledges it's not going anywhere this season. What's to-be-determined is their end game. If you're a fan of the Washington Football Team, it's hard to fight the most perishable thought: What if they're tanking for Trevor Lawrence?
Yes, it's quite possible the Cowboys have no intention of replacing Prescott, and are fully committed — as they've said publicly — to seeing his rehabilitation process through to the end. It's also quite possible they're putting themselves in position for life after Prescott, just in case.
Washington has a sudden knack for changing the direction of other franchises more than its own. Like when they got Ron Rivera fired in Carolina with their Week 13 win over the Panthers last season (only to hire him in Washington a month later). Or when they triggered the Cowboys to pull the entire plug on their season with Sunday's resounding victory, which dropped Washington from the second pick in 2021's draft to the ninth.
All while Washington continues to fester in mediocrity — never quite good enough to compete, and never quite bad enough to truly be transformed through the draft. Maintaining unrealistic goals while never appropriately acknowledging when a complete rebuild is needed, all the while. Bruce Allen must be admiring from afar just how "close" the 2020 Washington Football Team is to taking that next step.
Let's say Washington does go on to win the NFC East this year. Great, now what? Can you really imagine them squeaking into the playoffs — likely with a losing record — being the catalyst to a miraculous Super Bowl run?
A one-and-done playoff appearance leaves Washington picking in the back of the draft while the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants pick from the top of each round. Need a blue chip receiver to at long last replace Odell Beckham, Jr.? The Giants will be in position to get him. How about a left tackle to anchor your offensive line for the next five years? The Cowboys will be in position to get him.
And with a lucky bounce their way (a Jets win or two), that nightmarish scenario for Washington comes perfectly into play, and Trevor Lawrence winds up in an NFC East rival's building for the next decade to come.
This same scenario was well within Washington's grasp four days ago, when the Football Team made the cataclysmic decision to beat the Cowboys in pursuit of a fruitless division title.