by Kent Sterling
Some guys get it, some guys don’t, and then there is Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who today announced the restructuring of quarterback Tony Romo’s deal to shave $10 million off the Cowboys 2014 salary cap number.
That will serve the Cowboys well in 2014, but it 2015 Romo’s new deal will carry a $27 million cap load. At the 2014 cap level of $133M, $27M represents over 20% of the team’s salary. Given the 53 roster slots, that makes for some easy math to calculate the average salary for everyone else – $133M-$27M = $106M/52 = just over $2 million.
Cowboys fans who don’t understand why their favorite team is so relentlessly mediocre need no further evidence that Jones is the problem, and as long as he’s running things, they have no hope to succeed.
The past three seasons, the Cowboys have finished 8-8, and from 1997-2013 they sport a perfectly mediocre record of 136-136.
In those seasons, Cowboys fans have enjoyed watching seven quarterbacks lead the team in passing yards, five running backs lead the team in rushing, ten wideouts lead in receiving yards, six head coaches, and one owner who refuses to get the financial ledger in order so they are able to build for the future.
No quarterback in NFL history has been worth $27 million for a season, but the guy to whom Jones is allocating a nearly two-mile tall stack of dollar bills (3,225 yards) has played in a total of four playoff games in eight seasons, and has won one of them. ONE.
Romo, who will be 35 for the 2015 season, has led the NFL in four statistical categories during a season in his career – interceptions in 2012 (19), fumbles recovered in 2011 (6), comebacks in 2012 (5), and passing yards per attempt in 2006 (8.6), and he will count more toward the cap than any other quarterback in history.
The problems with the Cowboys aren’t caused by Romo’s mediocrity, which is simply a symptom, but by the win now idiocy that has been the hall mark of Jones management since he bought the team. It worked before the financial rules governing player salaries were adjusted to promote parity.
While other teams have learned to live within the means mandated by the NFL, the Cowboys have always tried to game the system to maximize their chances to win now. The results have never measured up to Jones ego or hubris.
For people who love to root against the Cowboys, today’s announcement of the restructuring of Romo’s contract was great news because now they have no chance at all to win in 2014 or 2015.
Jones built a beautiful stadium, has become the poster boy for the Cowboys, and has figured out how to monetize the Cowboys brand like no owner in America ever has, but in building a winner, he has been a failure for the aggregate of the past 17 seasons.
Jones is nowhere near dumb, but he has shown an abject inability not to jump for the quick validation, and as fans in Indianapolis, New England, and Green Bay have discovered, the long play is the smart play. He’s like one of those nuts in Texas Hold ’em that goes all-in with a pair of eights. One in every four hands he feels like a genius. In 30 minutes, he’s busted no matter what cards he pulls.
Patience, planning, and persistence wins in the NFL, and Jones embraces none of them.
The worst part for fans of a team where the owner is also the GM is when he gives himself a performance appraisal, he tends to get very good grades.
As long as Jones owns the Cowboys, he will be continually confound by why he can’t catch a break. He’s too close to the trees to see the forest, but fans know, Dallas media knows, and you know. The answer is staring back at Jones in the mirror every morning.
Now, if only the national media would stop covering the Cowboys like they are Super Bowl Champions.