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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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Featured Jason Garrett Jerry Jones Popular Stephen Jones

  • Alex Darden

    There’s definitely something different about things lately. We’ll know for sure if JFF falls 2 #16. Cuz if Jerry is still the main man pulling the trigger there is no way in hell he passes on that marketing oppertunity. No matter how many holes our team has (QB not being one of them) Not a knock on Manziel by the way.

    • Earl Robertson

      I disagree of Johnny falls to 16 and cowboys pass on him then Jerry is still calling all the shots!!! No way Jerrry will draft a qb with Romo still in Dallas. Now a football guy probably would make that pick so that in 2 or 3 years cowboys would have a qb ready like Rogers was with GB

      • Alex Darden

        Meant to put that down here. My bad.

    • Alex Darden

      I see what you mean about his love for Romo but if you ask me Jerry is a business man that only loves one thing more than winning and that’s money! I could see all bets being called off if JFF made it to us. The Texas prodigy playing for America’s team?! Jerry would call HBO before the 1st round is over to get hardknocks in Dallas this summer. And yes I do agree we need to start grooming a QB. But not with a 1st round pick. Can’t pay your QB 100 mil and be drafting a QB in the 1st round. That’s not being a smart football guy.

      • Earl Robertson

        Too me romo isn’t the problem but I’m not sure anymore he is the solution either! There is for sure more holes on this team that picking a qb in first round doesn’t make sense unless Johnny ranks 3 rd overall and he is there at 16 then to me be dumb to pass on him! But probably a mute point! 1. I see Johnny going to one of the 5 teams ahead of the cowboys that really need a qb, 2. Jones is still calling the shots 3. Cowboys might not have Johnny rated that high! I like Johnny just don’t like his size

      • Earl Robertson

        But u r right jerry loves money more then anything

  • Old Frog

    I’ve been saying for a couple of years now that Jerry is very committed to building the “Stephen and Jason Show” and neither of them are in any danger of being terminated. I believe that now more than ever.

  • jrcowboy49

    Manziel will be a bust! All hat and no cattle!

  • SmartThinking

    Would someone please show me where there’s a “deliberate transition plan,” in place for this team because I don’t see it. All I see is big Jones’s personnel mistakes and errors in judgment, again and again and again.

    Jones deliberately got this team into Cap trouble. And now that he’s had to release a few players who’ve gotten rich from his lack of football business sense, everyone is shouting to the heavens that “Jerry’s a changed man!!!”

    He picks up two tomato cans, an injured felon and a reject third string QB from one of the perennially worst teams in the sport and now, suddenly, Jones is the smartest guy in the room.

    Doesn’t anyone wait to have it proven to them before proclaiming big Jones a totally new man?

    Big Jones has said this team is not rebuilding. He’s only acquired one true starter in FA and Melton doesn’t possess the stats the guy he replaced does. Both he and his son are on record stating they can pick up defensive linemen, the very players this team needs a lot of, in the later rounds, well after all the difference-making players will be gone.

    Jones hasn’t made one move or said one thing that makes be believe he’s thinking about the future of this team.

    Can someone show me just one concrete, justifiable example of what Jones has done that leads you to the conclusion he’s implementing a new philosophy? I want to believe but I’m not gonna be led down another garden path by big Jones and his spin machine again while the team gets no better and nothing really changes.

  • [email protected]

    I noticed that Jerry is letting Stephen take on more and more and in my opinion is a good thing for the team. Like Jerry not being there for the Melton signing. And I think Jason’s job is safe. He will get a new contract at the end of the season if not before. They were smart not redoing contracts to save Ware and Hatcher and Austin. Ware and Hatcher were getting older and Austin stayed hurt through out the season. Sure it was tough to see them go but it was time for a change. And bring in some younger and healthier players.

  • disqus_kLJwdEdnOL

    I’ll have to see much more proof that Jones has finally seen the light before I will buy into it. He simply has too much ego to make drastic changes to his way of handling the team. Most of the recent changes can be attributed to salary cap issues which is something that we all know Jones created. It’s tough to be optimistic after seeing almost twenty years of mismanagement.

    • John

      I hear you. In truth, there’s no “proof” here that Jerry’s doing anything. It’s just four or five observations that suggest the organizational philosophy is shifting. They may be connected; they may not. A family business transition plan explains those observations more completely than any other theory, but the situation is fluid and that could change as more data is compiled. What they do in this year’s draft – trading up or down or staying put – could force a reassessment, or buttress the theory further…