Cowboys Nation seems to be in a state of constant demand and ever growing expectations. While Cowboys fans can be the best in the NFL, often they are blinded by the strategic unethical journalistic assault that sports media tends to launch. Constantly big platform guys like Skip Bayless twist and turn the words and actions of “America’s Team” to conjure up negative perceptions around the NFL and, ultimately, more reads.
As I sit here writing this, I impore you to sit back and look at these Cowboys with an open mind. Take away your personal biases or individual feelings towards current players.
Now, there are three unequivocal truths about these Cowboys: 1) Tony Romo, like him or not, WILL be quarterbacking this team for the foreseeable future. 2) Jason Garrett possesses the talent to be an excellent head coach in this league. 3) This team remains one of the most talented teams in the league.
Those are the things that we can not control and must stop trying to argue. We can’t take back Tony Romo’s contract. We can’t justify firing Jason Garrett after two seasons that have seen improvement just to have to rebuild again. And we certainly can not support an arguement that says the Cowboys don’t have the talent to contend in this league.
Cowboys fans let me make one thing abundantly clear, this Cowboys team is a top team in this league.
The only question that remains is how do you get them to play like it?
I’m not talking about just this year, i’m talking about consistently contending thoughout a long-term window that has been created through two years of smart drafting.
So for a minute, I get to escape from my very average life and step into Jerry Jones’ shoes and put together a blue print for returning the Dallas Cowboys into an NFL juggernaut.
Here we go….
Maximize Talent While Minimizing Cap
The Cowboys have put themself in a incredibly tough situation to navigate through in the upcoming years. With limited increase projected in terms of salary cap allowance, the Cowboys have little room to add or retain upcoming free agents.
The Cowboys must adopt a philosophy of careful player potential evaluation. Every personnel move needs to be calculated, meaning that every player needs to be evaluated in terms of long-term cost and long-term potential.
Additionally, the team needs to realize the benefit of player acquisition through the NFL draft. For years the Cowboys have carelessly drafted and watched picks bust or flame out. Thankfully, Jason Garrett has began to change that trend and will need to continue to do so to help the burden of potentially losing impact players in the near future.
In the next two years Sean Lee, Tyron Smith, Dez Bryant, Bruce Carter and DeMarco Murray will all be free agents. Those afforementioned players represent the young core of this team. The Cowboys must make it a priority to ensure that they retain as many of these players as they can. Each has superstar ability and it would be nausiating to see them depart to have success elsewhere because the Cowboys didn’t know how to budget properly.
Promote Continuity Through Coaching
For all the crap that Jason Garrett gets I believe that he’s doing something very special in Dallas. He has transformed this roster from a group of individuals to a team. Changes don’t occur over night, no matter how much we want them too.
Finally, Garrett has his type of players and that can’t go overlooked.
Let me break it down for everyone. Players don’t benefit from constant coaching changes. Learning new schemes isn’t easy and if you’re having to do it every offseason you’re never going to be able to maximize your potential.
Garrett may not be perfect and he certainly has a lot to improve on. However, if i’m Jerry Jones i’m giving him an extension. Garrett needs to know that he has security in building this team. If you’re making him consistently look over his shoulder in fear he’s never going to be able to fully commit to successful coaching.
The players need to know that Garrett isn’t going anywhere, they need to know they can commit to him without fear of having to endure change. Garrett is the glue to a team that is finally starting to come together.
Let The Son Claim His Throne
Jerry Jones is arguably the best marketer that the NFL has ever seen. He has continued to make the Cowboys one of the most popular teams in the NFL and as a result he is the owner of the most valuable sports franchise in the world.
However, Jerry Jones’ ability to be a good business man doesn’t mean he’s worth anything as a general manager.
For a while now Jerry Jones has been grooming his son to take over the family business. It has been said that Stephen Jones has the right mind to be a successful GM in the NFL and could do so with any NFL franchise.
Stephen seems to be the anti-Jerry. He understands how football operations work and seemingly does things for the betterment of the team. Stephen was reportedly the front man for the Cowboys negotiations with quarterback Tony Romo which is structured in a way that will maximize the Cowboys ability to retain players in ’14-’15.
The Cowboys would benefit from having Stephen if for no other reason that he can dedicate all his time to being the GM. Jerry will always be more committed to growing his bank account than the franchise. If this team plans to win, they need a GM committed to it as well.
There is a reason that this blueprint is tailored to the front office. The talent on this team suggests that the Cowboys are ready to win now. They have a mixture of older veterans and young budding superstars which is the equation to success.
However, until the ownership recognizes what it wants from this team and the extremely important role it plays in it’s teams success, the Dallas Cowboys will remain “Next Year’s Champions”.