It was widely reported after the deal that the Ravens would send McClain, who was on the reserved/retired list, plus a 2015 seventh-round pick to the Cowboys for a 2015 sixth-round pick.
However, that’s the best-case scenario. The Cowboys announced the terms of the deal today and that 2015 draft pick exchange will only take place if McClain plays 50 percent of the defensive snaps for Dallas during the 2014 season.
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That, obviously, is hardly a sure thing as McClain, 24, hasn’t played in an NFL game since November 2012.
If McClain doesn’t play in 50 percent of the Cowboys’ defensive snaps but is on their 53-man roster for five games or the gameday 46-man roster for three, the Cowboys and Ravens will swap 2016 seventh-round picks only if Dallas has the better pick.
If the Ravens already have the better seventh-round pick or McClain doesn’t make the Cowboys at all, no draft picks are exchanged.
Translation: the Ravens will be rooting for McClain to not only make the linebacker-thin Cowboys, but to be a starter on their defense. It seems like a lot to ask but after McClain retired twice in little over a year’s span, the Ravens knew that the mercurial linebacker wasn’t going to play for them anyway.