Cowboys Future No Ware To Be Found

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Déjà vu.

Thursday, February 27, 2003 and Wednesday March 12, 2014 felt one in the same.  A player who built almost all of his Hall of Fame worthy career wearing that alluring Star on his helmet was shown the door because his salary no longer matched his age.  I say age because this story is not about production.  If you believe that, you’re fooling yourself.  This is about scrambling to make up for so many mistakes that you have to do something drastic.  Period.

On that Thursday eleven years ago, Emmitt Smith was released by the Dallas Cowboys.  The easy reason for the move was that he was a 34-year old running back who was going to make $7 million and count almost $10 million to the cap.  The real reason for the move was that the Cowboys had three straight years of winning just five games and Smith had become too vocal about the direction of the franchise.  Does anyone remember this classic quote?

“2002 was the worst year I ever went through playing football.  Too much damn drama.  Too much selfishness by too many guys on the team.  Too much media frenzy around the team.  People always looking to me for answers and I didn’t have the answers for them about why we were so bad.  It felt like being a diamond surrounded by trash.”

With a new coach coming in and Smith due to make that kind of money, it was an easy out to jettison the greatest running back in the history of the league.  It could have been prevented though, had the egotistical owner and true architect of the team ever thought for one moment that he was in over his head evaluating talent and building a team.  You see, Smith was right, Jerry had surrounded the last links to the championship years with trash.

Eleven years later, the same guy has the same blood on his hands.

Last Wednesday, DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys all-time leader in sacks was released by the Cowboys.  Ware, who will be 32 at the start of the season, was set to make over $12 million this year and have over $16 million towards the cap.  The cap challenged Cowboys boxed themselves into a corner and had to do something to find relief.  Many are lauding Jerry Jones for “finally being a real GM” and making a hard decision for the betterment of the future.  Sadly, none of these ideals are true.  In fact, it is because of the countless mistakes, be it through the draft, trades, free agent pick ups or contract extensions that this happened.

Before we get into the real truths of the matter, please allow me a quick aside.

All week, whether it was in the mainstream media or social media, I heard and read comments that Ware should have taken a pay cut if he “really wanted to be with the Cowboys.”  The fact is he offered to do so, even with Jerry constantly trashing him all off-season, openly pondering if he’s no longer the player we grew accustomed to seeing each week.  Whether the cut Ware had in mind matched what Jones was hoping is irrelevant, DeMarcus was realistic to know that taking a cut would be fair.  He also continued to show his class and appreciation to this organization by not taking any offers from divisional opponents.  For all of this, the disrespectful comments and lack of support that I saw this week sickened me.  Taking sides is one thing and being loyal to the Cowboys is never an issue but taking shots at Ware and not appreciating his contributions to the organization is wrong.

So… Jerry’s a real GM now, huh.  That thought could not be more laughable.  Let’s examine why this day really happened… again.

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Tags: Anthony Spencer Dallas Cowboys DeMarcus Ware Emmitt Smith Jerry Jones Orlando Scandrick Tony Romo

  • SmartThinking

    Well written. I completely agree with your analysis of Jones and is incredible twenty year misunderstanding of and continued lack of football knowledge. His knack for picking the wrong talent, then paying them exorbitant money has crippled this team and any chance it ever could have to be a contender.

    What’s worse, as you so accurately predict, these recent personnel changes have come nowhere close to making this team better. Although Jones is personally richer from their departure, and even if this upcoming draft is a good one for Dallas, the rest of this team is going to suffer this upcoming season from a combination of brutal scheduling and lack of competent players up to the task of winning.

    Most folks learn something from their mistakes. Jones has taken the position, repeatedly, that he’s somehow above making mistakes and errors in judgment. His solution is to throw money at a problem in hopes it will get better. It doesn’t and it hasn’t and it won’t.

  • John

    This piece is spot on… three years ago.
    The organizational culture and philosophy have changed dramatically. The core arguments, that Jerry overspends in FA and wastes draft assets, no longer reflect what’s actually happening…

  • disqus_kLJwdEdnOL

    It all boils down to the fact that the mismanagement of the salary cap by Jones made it almost imperative that a player like Ware be released. I don’t blame Jones for releasing Ware but I do blame him for creating a situation where it was necessary.

    • John

      I feel your pain on the cap, but Ware was released primarily because he’s no longer a productive player, not because he costs too much. If he was still a 15-sack per year guy, he’d still be a Cowboy.

      • disqus_kLJwdEdnOL

        Are you saying he would have been released if he was only making one million next year? I say the salary cap situation played as much or more of a part of the decision than his production just like many more of the player decisions now being made. Hatcher no longer productive?

        • John

          Hatcher wasn’t cut. And I said production was the PRIMARY reason Ware was released. If he was still elite he’d still be a Cowboy, even at a $16m cap hit…