The Dallas Cowboys: A Family Business Executing A Very Deliberate Transition Plan

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Nov 11, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (center) talks with COO/EVP Stephen Jones (left) and EVP Jerry Jones, Jr. (right) prior to playing the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 38-23. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Something is happening with the Cowboys at Valley Ranch that the sporting community seem unable to explain, so maybe it’s time to seek answers from folks who don’t make their living watching football.

Why is Jerry spending first-round draft picks on offensive linemen? He’s picked up two in the past three drafts – tackle Tyron Smith and center Travis Frederick. They are the first two of his 25-year run as owner and GM.

Why did Jerry cut franchise icon DeMarcus Ware and let home-grown Pro Bowler Jason Hatcher walk this offseason, instead of paying the two by exercising built-in contract restructures on other veterans? Jerry’s never been shy about pushing contract debt forward for a better shot at winning today, and he’s always been partial to throwing money at his own. This was an opportunity to do both. Twice.

Why hasn’t Jerry made more of a splash in free agency the past couple of years? Why no big trades sending draft picks for veteran talent? Jerry has frequently executed those type of moves, and his team has plenty of holes to fill for 2014.

Why did Jerry hire defensive coordinators Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli, and new offensive play caller Scott Linehan? All three new hires share a strong history with head coach Jason Garrett, but Jerry’s never been shy about picking coordinators for his head coaches before.

And why was Jerry out of town for the free agent signing of defensive tackle Henry Melton? The former Bear was only the team’s top free agent priority this offseason – not the kind of signing Jerry typically delegates.

Maybe it’s all connected. I’ve made the point before that Jerry seems like a different GM since he hired Garrett as head coach after the 2010 season. The theory isn’t perfect. Trading up for Morris Claiborne in 2012, for instance, seems very un-Garrett, as was overpaying a Day 1 free agent like cornerback Brandon Carr the same year. Trading away premium draft assets and overpaying free agents are hallmark Jerry moves. So we haven’t seen a wholesale change. More of a gradual transition.

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