Jerry and Stephen Jones are good at money. The eldest is a charming businessman whose investments have taken him to act as the owner of Cowboys in DallasThe world’s most valuable sports franchise. The Jones family is marketing the Beiges outside their team where they continue to make money with the fist despite their “product” not progressing after the divisional round of playoffs since the 1995 season.
Although they are great at managing real money, the same sentiments are not shared when it comes to managing a cowboy salary cap. To their credit, they’ve tried a bunch of different approaches over the past two and a half decades, but none of them have worked. Currently, they use a “live to fight another day” approach where they craft, develop, and fill any voids with free, low-cost agents. This keeps their annual spending manageable without any damage to future payrolls. Then they’ll stick their toes and hope their men come along, and when they don’t, well, they’ll have it next year.
This is the philosophy of Jones. And it has never been more evident than in 2022 when we just witnessed one of the most faltering seasons in a long time for this football team. So much has happened in the past two years and it’s hard to know where this team is headed. After a spoiled year in Mike McCarthy’s debut season as new coach where the defense was horrible and key midfielder Dak Prescott slipped, the team reclaimed well last season with a much-improved defense and a very effective offense. No team scored more points than the Cowboys last season and no team got off the ball more. Both are really good things.
Unfortunately, the Cowboys couldn’t capitalize on this amazing feat as they bounced back from the playoffs right away, not even making it to the divisional round break this time. To make matters worse, the team lost three key players—Amari Cooper, Lyle Collins, and Randy Gregory—and didn’t take the steps to replenish the lost talent.
It seems the Cowboys can’t get over the hump, but instead of reloading and coming off hard, the front desk has quietly taken their feet off the gas. The truth is that the three Cooper, Collins and Gregory are still in Dallas. The Cowboys made a deliberate effort to move on from Cooper and Collins in the form of trade or liberalization to take their paychecks off the books. And the team was so close to keeping Gregory only to see the rug come out from under the deal that prompted him to sign with Denver. The team had options and made their decision.
Instead of allocating $20 million to Cooper this year, the money is distributed as follows (Max numbers courtesy of Spotrak):
NEED WR HELP? Not a problem. Stephen Jones solves this dilemma as he does everything else, and keeps it in the family. The Cowboys recipient list above consists of one, two, three, four, five, six draft/undrafted signatories and one outsider and free agent USFL MVP KaVontae Turpin.
Oh, but it’s getting better. Instead of paying La’el Collins $10 million per season, they can just handle these diverse characters for next year.
For what it’s worth, this is the list of young offensive linemen playing under the junior contract, which is good at first glance, until you realize that one, two, three or four of them start attacking the Cowboys in 2022. Not only that, but The other three could easily be the “next man” should a beginner go down. And yes, every single one of these players is a drafted/undrafted signer.
When you look at the rushers on the edge of the team, it’s not nearly as bad, especially considering Micah Parsons (and we should) in the spin.
This group only consists of three junior players in their starters, Parsons, Chauncey Goulston, and Sam Williams selected in this year’s second round. But there’s also some savings built into this set as their free agents are low-cost players, and they re-signed Dorance Armstrong for a good price, and somehow convinced DeMarcus Lawrence to take a pay cut.
If there is one common theme to all of this it is that the Cowboys strive to earn every ounce of value from these players as much as possible. A list full of affordable starter deals and free agents will open up a lot of space, but is this the way to build a tournament list?
Neighbors think they have been completely convinced by this belief that these local potential customers can step in and get the job done. Jerry on the record says teams that pay dearly at quarterbacks should make sacrifices elsewhere.. And if you look at how the pie is divided, those sacrifices are obvious.
Hell or high water, the Cowboys front desk is determined to run the team that way. They could certainly choose to sign a player at a higher price. They can choose to deliver a capital project to bring in a proven star. They can even manipulate dollars and take advantage of everything now and let tomorrow’s problems be tomorrow’s problem. But they are not. They don’t do any of these things. They’ve been there, they’ve done it, and they’re sure they don’t want to go down that road again.
Cowboys have a really good staff department. They are constantly on the lookout for good talent. Will McClay and the survey team are doing a great job finding guys who can contribute whether they’ve been here for the long haul or just through a junior deal. And when they say, “We love our men,” they’re not lying.
The #cowboys He has made 20 draft picks since 2021.
All 20 submitted the 53-player roster on Tuesday.
– Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) August 31, 2022
The front office has this firm belief that the way they do things is the best way for them to win. They love Duck, they paid Duck, but now they choose to work within the financial constraints that come with paying a lot of money. Other teams find ways to circumvent it, but not the neighbors. They will only trust the development and advancement of their men. Is this the right way to go or make Jones crazy and ready to watch this kid burn if their plan doesn’t work out? Time will tell, but that’s it, and that’s how it’s going whether we like it or not.