It’s the second week of the NFL season, and despite losing three starters and a main rotation player to injury in their first game, Cowboys in Dallas They still look inward only to address the surprising holes in the menu. Despite having the fourth place in terms of cover area According to Over the Capthe idea of using that to try to sign up to an outside free agent is still considered abhorrent.
As expected after a humiliating loss like losing a team at the hands of Tampa Bay BuccaneersThere is a great deal of grumbling and criticism spreading around the media, both traditional and social.
While the Jones family can be incredibly stubborn in doing things their way, they do take note of what is said about them. Just like most humans, they don’t like it when the discussion is mostly negative. It was just too much after the way the team did so little during the holiday period to prepare the roster for the regular season. Recently, Stephen Jones, who has the primary responsibility for handling caps and contracts, made a statement on the strategy for using caps. Maybe he didn’t get what he wanted.
As usual for him, he opened with one of his words by heart. The phrase “at the end of the day” says that it will all work out in the end. This way of thinking is one of the things that really pisses off the fans. It makes the coming years at least as important as the current one, and in context this statement seems to give more value to what the team wants to do later than it needs to do now. The idea of moving the lid forward fits with another way of expressing things he introduced earlier in the year, which is “dry powder.” The statement also reflects his idea of a “pie” and how there is only so much to go around with.
What is completely missing from his thinking is how the NFL is a league to win now. Planning ahead should always take a back seat to figuring out how to get to the final prize now. His statement also conveys the desire not to have to restructure contracts to manipulate the cap on team building. However, every year teams enter the year with little or no space and still manage to make it by doing exactly that. Includes teams like Los Angeles Ramswho used this technique to build the team that won the Energy in February.
What’s remarkable is that cowboys basically invented it. Jerry Jones was instrumental in creating the salary cap as well. He was famous for his free spending during the 1990s championship. In essence, he came up with the idea of a cover to prevent the owners from doing what he just did to create those winning lists. It was also a way to prevent wealthier franchises from dominating the league and forcing other teams to spend more to keep up. While the cap is a completely artificial limitation, player contracts directly affect the teams’ bottom line.
With all these teams now multibillion dollar companies, worrying about having to pay more seems to be a strangely frugal way of thinking. It also contrasts with the way the league now sees revenue rise only outside of distractions like the COVID year when it lost a lot of stadium revenue across the board. The basis for putting the cap in place was Jerry’s desire for something to control his wasteful ways.
What’s even more puzzling is that Dallas basically invented the whole idea of restructuring things to keep hiring players. There was a time just a decade ago when the media and fans alike worried about how they’d “kick the can on the road” to gain space for big decades, including free agents. However, this can lead to issues with dead money from making a large portion of the bonus money that cannot be redeemed if the player is released, traded away, or retired. This dead money has run out of cap in the coming years, which may force further restructuring. The Cowboys also had a poor performance in free agency when big dollar signings didn’t pay off. It all seems to have combined to put Stephen out of the whole idea. Now he tells us that he wants to avoid max problems altogether whenever possible.
Stephen’s notes look suspiciously like a two-, three-, or even five-year plan. It builds for the future. The problem with that is that teams never know how long players will be able to perform. The Cowboys have already seen key players like Dak Prescott, Tyrone Smith and Michael Gallop lose time due to injuries, the most random event that can happen to any team. Sometimes careers are cut short, as we saw just a few years ago with Travis Frederick. He was on his way to a career HOF when illness forced him into early retirement. The chances of applying a multi-year approach to building a list at all are not good. The way you build a winning team is to focus on what you have to put on the field now, not next year or the year after.
But building a list in recent years is exactly what Stephen tells us he wants to do. He’s been taking this approach for years. He fails to achieve success, but keeps moving forward doing the same thing and expecting different results. There is a saying about it.
The Cowboys have a lot of problems this year, and to a large extent, they can be tied directly to this approach. They got cheap to rely on draft, UDFA, and players with little experience while sticking to the bargain basket approach of free agency. What the team needs is a new way to look at and use cover. The best way to do this is to hire a full-time general manager and give him or her the reins. Jerry and Stephen wouldn’t shoot themselves for doing that. It looks like the future will just be a repeat of the past several years, and that future is unlikely to change as Jerry has made it clear he won’t sell the team either. All we can do is get used to it or just walk away.