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Paying the price

Today's lesson is all about the penalties you pay for poor drafting. Both JJT and Mickey Spags addressed the subject in their latest articles. In fact, it's almost like they collaborated on the central theme. Here's JJT:

Three years ago, the Cowboys made two of their worst draft choices in the past decade, when they took tackle Jacob Rogers in the second round and guard Stephen Peterman in the third.

Each was the definition of a bust. Jerry Jones is still paying for those wretched selections Bill Parcells encouraged him to make.


Nice swipe at Parcells, JJT. Let it go. Anyway, here's Spags:
You know who he's talking about. The Cowboys took a swing and a miss on 2004 second-round pick Jacob Rogers. They took a swing and a miss on 2004 third-round pick Stephen Peterman. And this is the result of making first-day misses in the draft:

You pay for your mistakes in free agency. Generally, you overpay, a sort of double jeopardy for missing badly on the first day of the draft. That's the penalty.

As JJT and Spags noted, when you whiff in the draft, you end up overpaying for it. But when you whiff in free agency, you end overpaying on your overpayment, unless you rebuild and decide to wait for your draft classes to come of age. And to the benefit or detriment of the Cowboys, depending on your point of view, Jerry Jones is not one to rebuild.

In a way, free agency is like a draft that closes out the year. There are fewer players available, usually it's not the cream of the crop, and they cost a lot more. But you do get the added benefit of having watched them actually play in the NFL, you can't say you're taking them on potential. When you pay that kind of money, you better be sure. Lately, the Cowboys haven't been sure, and they have whiffed on quite a few, like Marco Rivera and Jason Fabini.

It's not just the money you pay these guys, because with the new salary cap, the Cowboys aren't paying the price this year of their contracts - we have plenty of room under the cap to make moves. But we do pay the price in developing other talent or making other moves because we believe these guys will do the job. Part of the reason we needed to sign Leonard Davis is because of Rivera's play. The Cowboys organization is being kind by saying its Rivera's back that's the issue, but it's really his play. So we had two positions on the line in flux with Marc Colombo in limbo, and Davis was picked to cover one of those two spots. If Rivera had worked out or had we made a better move in free agency that year we might've been able to just concentrate on Colombo once free agency began.

Really, it all comes back to one thing, evaluating talent. Seeing the talent or understanding the talent is there and just needs to be coached up, that is the true genius. Let's hope Jerry Jones slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

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