Today, I read Tom's article about how certain language coming out of Jerry Jones could lead you to believe he's focused solely on winning now. Now, I was going to put a lengthy response over there in the comments, but I feel like its better addressed here. As with every year, there have been many quotes coming from the owner that makes you go 'hmm'. But rather than a rift brewing in Valley Ranch, I think there is more of a sense of mutual benefit. The offseason moves we've made not only improves the team now, but improves them for the future.
Take the jump for the specifics.
Firstly, I want to say that there is no-denying that Jerry wants to win now. But, that doesn't mean he's going to blow anything up to do it, not with JG and SJ around anyway. One of the proper ways to help improve your team is eliminate weaknesses. That is what I think this off-season has been about, not about going all-out and turning into a Dream Team. Jerry might have been impressed with that assemblage of talent, but hopefully he saw that might doesn't always make right in the NFL. I just want to show that while the Boys may have made some bold moves, they have done nothing to risk the future for a Super Bowl reward now.
Was the signing of Brandon Carr a consensus stupid move? Or given the horrible play of Terence Newman, did they need to go shopping? You might think he was paid too much money, but its been said time and time again that it was simply the going-rate for a top of the FA class CB. That fact simply can't be denied when looking at the 'other' top CBs contracts this year, such as the one Finnegan got. While it may have been 'expensive', it was not one which prevented the team from signing more FAs. All in all, they paid the going rate for a top CB to replace one of the liabilities on the team. Was that going too far?
Speaking of FAs, we've all read the articles here on BTB detailing how the Cowboys are starting to structure their player contracts in their favor. Evidently, long gone are the days of contracts marrying us to under-performing players, like RW's and Barber's were. There are very few of those kinds of contracts left on the current team. Some could view the contracts Spears got as being that way with how you might view his performance. But, there are very few. What we have now is a bunch of contracts that allow us to cut-bait with these FA players if they don't play like we want them to. Many of them resemble something like a 5 year deal, 2 year commitment. Thats about as ideal as you can get with player signings IMO.
Continuing on with the FA's, outside of Carr, what they did was bring aboard ideal situation players, not only speaking of their contracts. The players they acquired are very flexible in their roles with the team, I think. It goes with the theme we keep applying to what we think the defense wants to do, multiplicity. Whether you call it flexibility or multiplicity, its just about the best situation you can be in. The players we brought in will help the team in whatever role they end up with. These are a bunch of players who could either be back-ups or starters, and help the team either way. Whether you're talking about Dan Connor, Bernie and the Bengal, or even Kyle Orton, you've got players who could comfortably go either way. They were handed contracts that could be viewed as being applicable to either a starter or a backup. The strategy behind this looks like the Cowboys wanted insurance policies, not progress stoppers. Talking specifically about Dan Connor, his contract doesn't mean he has to start over Carter. He could if Carter isn't better than him, but thankfully you can say there is a fair competition between the two. Connor's contract and presence here doesn't keep Carter from competing to start.
Let's also talk about the drafting of Morris Claiborne. Now, some of you extremely pessimistic fans might think that drafting Mo forces Jenkins to be a bust. No, if you can call Jenkins a bust, its nobodies fault but his. There aren't many people who disagree'd with drafting the very promising young CB. The feeling around here wasn't "why'd we do that? we have Jenkins still!", it was more like "haha, good move, now we don't have to pay Jenkins". Right? Did anyone seriously get as disgruntled as Jenkins did around here? Additionally, I think this puts them in a good situation with Jenkins. They basically have the same ability with Jenkins as they do with many of the FAs they brought in. Think about it, Jenkins is making money that means he can comfortably be a back-up this year, and he has the ability to start if we need him to. Personally, I don't think you absolutely have to keep him on the team or absolutely have to trade him. If he stays here as a in-expensive, but starter-caliber player while Mo works through his rookie season, thats a good thing. If we flip him for a minimum 2nd round draft pick, thats also a good thing.
Now, if this were a 'All-In' year, we would have given up a lot, and mortgaged the future to get what we got. Did we really? We gave up exactly two things. A 2nd round pick and a 'expensive' amount of money for two CBs. You might not feel that great about it, but did giving up those two things really hurt us that badly this year, or for the future? Hardly. You might think that 2nd rounder was an automatic Sean Lee, but the truth is, there is no guarantee of that. We gave up a roll of the dice, nothing more. So, as far as this team's offseason moves, we brought in contract-friendly, non-progress-stopping players to provide insurance and improve weaknesses, while minimally hurting this teams future.
Tom's article focused primarily on the relationship between JJ and JG, and whether or not they have differing strategies, not a unified vision. I can't say for sure whether or not they are united in their handling of the Boys. But, what I can say is that they didn't do anything rash this offseason. If up until this point you have been unconvinced that they haven't gone 'All-In', consider what might have been. There were some FAs that might have seriously hurt the future of this team. If certain fans got their way, we'd have Mario Williams here instead of nearly all of the other FA moves we made. That would have hurt, big time. Look at the contract he got. The Bills gave him 96 million with 50 million guaranteed. The guaranteed money he got is the entirety of Brandon Carr's contract. Ouch. Or how about this: What if we already signed Carr, what if we got a lot of fan's wishes and signed Carl Nicks? Many of us already correctly saw that with bringing in Carr we already couldn't pay Jenkins. How could we justify spending that money that Nicks got?
Whatever strategies JJ and JG have in mind, I'd take that with the offseason it produced, over what could have been. The simple fact is the team has improved now and for the next several years, without seriously hurting what the team can do in the future should we not "Win Now".