NEW ORLEANS -- The Dallas Cowboys have gotten calls from "two separate teams" about trading the No. 9 overall pick of the NFL draft, owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday.
"I've already had the opportunity to discuss and have been approached by two separate clubs," Jones said Tuesday from the NFL owners' meetings. "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 be 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.
Multiple mock drafts have projected the Cowboys to take either Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara or USC tackle Tyron Smith. However, there is a need to get a tackle, with the possibility of cutting right tackle Marc Colombo, who is due a $2.6 million roster bonus when the league year starts.
"What I do feel good about is the quality of the players down through that ninth [and] 10th draft position," Jones said. "It certainly enhances the value of that ninth pick because not only are we gonna have a player that I think will make a difference for us now, [but] 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 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 hit), Tony Romo ($12.9 million) and Terence Newman ($10 million).
Jones said he expects the Cowboys to have another high payroll in 2011, possibly highest in the NFL for the second consecutive year.
Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com.