Jerry Jones doesn’t like people thinking he’s not a great football mind. Ever since purchasing the Dallas Cowboys back in 1989, he’s been trying to prove he’s a great general manager. His need for affirmation in this area led to Jimmy Johnson leaving town thus ending the 1990s dynasty.
Even now in 2022, he wants people to know that he’s a mastermind and that every move — no matter how bad it seems — was a great business decision. Now, he’s doing this by taking aim at Amari Cooper.
Following the 2021 campaign, Dallas traded Cooper to the Cleveland Browns for a fifth-round pick. It was a terrible trade but Jones is now saying that he did so due in large part to Cooper’s lack of availability.
Cowboys GM Jerry Jones was wrong for criticizing Amari Cooper for ‘availability’ issues
The problem with this statement is that it’s not entirely true, and it’s definitely not fair to Cooper. In three-and-a-half seasons with Dallas, Cooper missed a grand total of two games. To be fair, Jones did also throw both Randy Gregory and La’el Collins into the mix, but he also conveniently ignored how he’s fine with Tyron Smith missing 20 games over the past two seasons while not making it through a full slate of games since 2015. He can’t be mad at the lack of availability from some and not others.
Of course, we all know with Jones, there’s always more to the story. With Gregory, he left due to the Cowboys not operating in good faith on their contract negotiations. In other words, Gregory left on his own accord rather than getting tossed due to an availability issue. Jones can’t argue against Gregory when he was prepared to offer him the same contract he received from Denver. Collins was released after being suspended for five games last season so that one might be more factual.
As for Cooper, this issue could be related to his unvaccinated status. Jones did publicly call out Cooper for not being vaccinated against COVID-19 last season as the wideout missed two games due to his status when he tested positive.
"“Nobody is saying he isn’t outstanding, but this is a classic case of how it can impact a team. At the end of the day, this is team. You cannot win anything individually. … The point is, it popped us. This did pop us.”"
Considering Cooper missed just two out of a possible 41 games for Dallas, it sure seems as though Jones is now trying to save face. The problem is, he would likely come across looking better by saying the truth, which is they needed to free up cap space, and moving Cooper felt like the safest move thanks to the presence of CeeDee Lamb.
To essentially say a player missing two games due to COVID led to his departure feels like a cheap shot for a guy who really did help turn the offense around after arriving in 2018.