Potentially, the next few weeks in the NFL will be the craziest free agent frenzy in the history of sports. Trying to cram an entire off-season’s worth of activity into three weeks is like trying to stuff Andy Reid into a pair of tights. I can’t wait to see how it plays out.
Without question the impending NFL CBA Bonanza will be an extremely trying time on GM’s and their staffs. That has many questioning whether the Cowboys’ GM is up to the task. Not that questioning Jerra’s GM prowess is anything new, but he’s never faced a challenge like the one he faces once the CBA is finally approved. Of course, neither has any other GM in football. Good thing for Cowboys’ fans, Jerra and crew are up to the task.
What most people don’t realize about Jerry is that he’s at his best when he’s tired of losing. Say what you will about the man — and you could say a lot — there is no denying his desire to win. Losing humbles him — as much as Jerry can be humbled anyway. It made him give up control to Bill Parcells, and, though Parcells may not have done his best job of coaching in Dallas, he did oversee a significant swell in overall talent. After the disappointing 2008 season, Jerry correctly decided to cut ties with Terrell Owens. And, after the major letdown that was the 2010 season, it’s safe to bet that Jerry is desperate to get things back on track.
But the pressure on Jerry is a little over exaggerated. The Cowboys operate a differently from most NFL franchises. While Jerry holds the official title of GM, Stephen is the one that runs the day-to-day operations. Ultimately, Jerry has the final say, but Stephen is just as much an impetus behind the team’s decisions. When all hell breaks loose next week, it’s Stephen that will be most under the gun. He’s the one that has been charged with the unenviable task of getting the Cowboys under the new salary cap.
No doubt, the Cowboys knew this day was coming and they’ve been preparing for it as much as any other team in the NFL. At this point, Stephen probably has a good idea of the new parameters within which he will be working and has already formed a plan of action. Hopefully that plan includes the restructuring of numerous contracts, the re-signing of Doug Free, and the additions of a d-lineman and a couple of safeties. Over the next few weeks, the fate of the 2011 Cowboys lies in Stephen Jones’ hands more than it does Tony Romo’s or Jason Garrett’s.