USA About: Cowboys Publish: 03/04/2022 Edit: 03/04/2022 Author: Gardener
It feels like ancient history now, the tale of how Jerry and Stephen Jones nearly got together in 1995's The Mansion at Turtle Creek when the younger Jones realized his father was about to pay an exorbitant salary to save Deion Sanders evicted from San Francisco. It was a contract that, along with others, landed the Cowboys in salary cap prison at the end of the decade. After losing that particular fight, Stephen's steady hand has won many battles with All-in Jerry over the years, including future Hall of Famer Zack Martin's famous draft against Johnny Manziel. Patience is great when it comes to raising teenagers or anticipating the start of baseball season, but this is not the time for the Dallas Cowboys. In 2022 -- or at least March 2022 -- the club needs a little more guidance from its part-time boxing promoter/owner and a little less from its bottom-line-focused executive vice president. Dallas is coming off a 12-5 season that certainly ended in disappointment against San Francisco, but was also their best regular season since 2016. Back then the club was going 13-3 and Dak and Zeke were rookies and the future looked rosier than the West End Zone glare at AT&T Stadium. And that's also when the Cowboys decided, with what they consider reasonable caution, and others would call a degree of idiocy -- cutting the cord with three starters in secondary and hoping 2017 with their rookie - To be able to live alternatively. But almost all of their substitute draft capital (not to mention Taco Charlton) combined with Ezekiel Elliott's off-field drama and suspension saw the club fall to 9-7. As of last season, the Cowboys had never won more than 10 games. The current attrition in the NFC -- no more Tom Brady in Tampa Bay, maybe no Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, a championship Rams team that hasn't left room for off-season additions -- should see the Cowboys face 2022 seem to be approaching. When exactly does this club hope to hit the playoff wins that are expected to come with a $40 million annual salary? Instead, we hear Stephen Jones suggest that either wide receiver Amari Cooper or DeMarcus Lawrence (or maybe but not likely both) could be too expensive. They are the star players this team could fire (very soon in Cooper's case and in June in Lawrence's case) to save up dollars for the salary cap and continue the Cowboys' austerity program that at least part of the front office believes it is is the desired goal. It must irk Cowboys fans when Stephen Jones says that about the Rams. “Certainly they've done it by pushing a lot of chips out. He speaks as if to say, "Yes, LA won a Super Bowl, but at what cost?" The Rams don't have a pick until the fifth round next month, though they'll likely get a late third as a level pick. They haven't had a first-round pick in the past five years, and they don't have one in 2023 either. But they've played in two of the last four Super Bowls and are getting rings this year. I have to think this feels a lot like winning. Honestly, the cowboys, with their tip-toe approach, aren't even as efficient as they'd like you to believe. The Rams may be $13 million over the cap, but the Cowboys are $21 million over. Only the Saints and Packers have more to do with player contracts or layoffs than Dallas. We all know the Cowboys can spread money across the contracts of players who aren't going anytime soon, starting with Prescott, and getting where they need to be. Cowboys fans don't want to hear about the 2024 budget Jones mentioned earlier this week. Dallas wasn't far from the top last year, and the uncertain quarterback situations surrounding the conference suggest a possible opener if only this team gets the offseason right. The last time the Cowboys this good management decided to retire. For more Cowboys coverage from The Dallas Morning News, click here.
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