Jerry Jones, owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, described himself as “extraordinarily disappointed” following yesterday's playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Was Jones' mood just a temporary feeling in the heat of the moment, or is it something more that could have repercussions for coaches and players in the 2022 offseason?
Dallas' chief decision maker has to feel somewhat cheated over the last two seasons. Two years ago, Jones dumped a longtime friend and the coach he'd handpicked and helped groom, Jason Garrett, to supposedly upgrade to Mike McCarthy.
But after the ugly 2020 season and now a first-round playoff exit, losing at home to a wild card 49ers squad, Jones has to be wondering what he really has in McCarthy and in his roster. These feel like the same over-penalized, underachieving Dallas Cowboys that we've seen for the last 15 years.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: “Extraordinarily disappointed.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: “I’m very disappointed for our fans. … This is quite the letdown.”
#Cowboys owner Jerry Jones described himself as extraordinarily disappointed, said he couldn’t remember being more disappointed by a loss. When I asked about potential of a coaching change, he said, “I don’t even want to discuss anything like that at this particular time.”
— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) January 17, 2022
Asked when the last time was he'd been this disappointed, Jerry Jones said, "I don't remember."
— Matt Mosley (@mattmosley) January 17, 2022
The question now is what does Jones' stated disappointment mean for the organization going forward. Is it a fleeting negative statement, soon to be rendered meaningless by offseason decisions? Or is it the beginning of greater changes?
The Cowboys' coaching staff and roster has the potential for significant turnaround in 2022. We've already seen Offensive and Defensive Coordinators Kellen Moore and Dan Quinn linked to several head coaching vacancies in the NFL. Dallas may have to replace one or both of them, or perhaps consider firing McCarthy if desperate retain Moore or Quinn.
Dallas also has a slew of significant free agents this offseason. This isn't even the full list, just the biggest names up for new contracts in 2022:
- WR Michael Gallup
- WR Cedrick Wilson
- TE Dalton Schultz
- LG Connor Williams
- DE Randy Gregory
- DE Dorance Armstrong
- DT Carlos Watkins
- LB Leighton Vander Esch
- LB Keanu Neal
- S Jayron Kearse
- S Damontae Kazee
- S Malik Hooker
- P Bryan Anger
That list represents at least seven starting jobs on both sides of the ball and some key rotation pieces. The roster could look very different by next July.
And before you even think of posting this in the Comments, Dak Prescott still has $77.8 million in dead money on his contract. So no, that ain't happening.
All of these potentially moving parts gives added weight to Jerry Jones' “disappointed” talk. How motivated is the front office to try to run it back with this same general cast? Will they ultimately see 2021 in a positive light; massive improvement from the year before and the potential for true NFC contention with some modest upgrades?
Or will Jones' disappointment lead to greater renovation? Could the last two years, coupled with Jerry's desperation to see a sixth Super Bowl before he dies, be a catalyst for bigger moves this offseason?
The next few months, and even weeks, will really tell us just how disappointed Jerry Jones is.