A genius at work or delusions of grandeur? How the Cowboys front office is not wavering in 2022

Jerry and Stephen Jones are good with money. Bada is a business magician whose investments have landed him the owner of the world’s most valuable sports franchise, the Dallas Cowboys. And the Jones family dropped the Beggs from their team because they continue to make money despite their “product” not progressing through the divisional round of the playoffs since the 1995 season.

While they are great at managing real money, the same sentiment is not shared for managing Cowboys’ salary caps. To his credit, he has tried many different methods over the past two and a half decades, but none of them have worked out. Currently, they are employing a “live to fight another day” approach where they draft, develop and fill any vacancies with low-cost free agents. This keeps their annual expenses manageable without any loss for future payroll. Then, they’ll cross their fingers and hope their people will come, and when they don’t, oh well, they’ll get them next year.

This is the vision of the Joneses. And this has never been more evident than in 2022 when we have seen one of the most troubled off seasons for this football team in a long time. A lot has happened over the years and it’s hard to figure out where this team is headed. After a poor year in Mike McCarthy’s debut season as new head coach, where the defense was terrible and his starting quarterback Dak Prescott went down, the team returned well last season with a much better defense and a very efficient offense. Of. No team scored more points than the Cowboys last season, and no team took the ball more. Those are both really good things.

Unfortunately, the Cowboys could not take advantage of such an amazing feat as they were promptly bounced off the playoffs, not even reaching their divisional round stalling point this time. To make matters worse, the team made three major starts in Amari Cooper, L’El Collins and Randy Gregory, and did not take steps to replenish the lost talent.

The Cowboys can’t get off the hump, but instead of reloading and getting aggressive, the Front Office calmly takes its foot off the gas. The reality is that all three of Cooper, Collins and Gregory may still be in Dallas. The Cowboys made a deliberate attempt to move on from Cooper and Collins as a trade or release to take their salary off the books. And the team was too close to retain Gregory to see the rug come out from under the deal, which led to him signing with Denver. The team had options, and made their decision.

Instead of $20+ million being allocated to Cooper this year, the money is spread out as follows (cap numbers courtesy of Spottrack):

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Need WR Help? No problem. Stephen Jones solves this dilemma like he does everything, keep it in the family. The Cowboys receiver list above includes one, two, three, four, five, six draft/undraft signers and an outside free agent in USFL MVP Cavonte Turpin.

Oh, but it gets better. Instead of paying La’el Collins $10 million per season, they can roll with these inspiring characters for the year to come.

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For what it’s worth, this is a list of young offensive linemen who are playing under their rookie contract, which at first glance is fine, until you realize that one, two, three, four of them will be the Cowboys in 2022. Starting offensive linemen. Not only that, but the other three can very easily be “the next guy up”, should one of the starters go down. And yes, each of these players is a draft/undraft signer.

When you look at the team’s edge rushers, it’s not nearly as bad, especially if you include Micah Parsons (and we should) in the rotation.

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The group includes only three young players who are on their rookie deals, Parsons, Chauncey Golston, and this year’s second-round pick Sam Williams. But the group also has some savings because their free agents are low-cost players, they re-signed Dorrance Armstrong for a good price, and they somehow convinced DeMarcus Lawrence to take a pay cut.

If there is a common theme to all of this that the Cowboys are as diligent in getting every ounce of value out of these players as they can. A roster full of rookie deals and bargain-priced free agents will open up a lot of cap space, but is this the way to make a championship roster?

The Joneses believe so because they have completely bought into the belief that these home prospects can step up and get the job done. Jerry is on record saying that teams paying a heavy price in quarterback have to relinquish elsewhere, And if you look at how the pie is being divided, those sacrifices are obvious.

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Hell or high water, the Cowboys are adamant on running the front office team that way. They can of course choose to sign a higher priced player. They could have opted to surrender the draft capital to bring in a proven star. They could even manipulate the cap dollar and go all out now and let yesterday’s problems be tomorrow’s problems. But they are not. They are not doing any of these things. They’ve been there, they’ve done that, and they sure as heck don’t want to go down that path again.

The Cowboys have a really good player personnel department. He is cycling continuously on the strength of good talent. Will McClay and the scouting team do a great job finding people who can contribute whether they’re here for the long haul or just through their rookie deal. And when they say “we like our friends” they’re not lying.

The Front Office has an unwavering belief that the way they operate is the best way for them to win. They love the postage, they pay the postage, but now they prefer to operate within the financial restrictions that come with paying their quarterback a lot of money. Other teams find ways to circumvent it, but not the Joneses. They’re just going to rely on their people to grow and deliver. Is this the right way to go or is Jones gone mad and ready to burn this kid, should his plan not work? Time will tell, but that’s it, and whether we like it or not, it’s going to be like that.

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