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The Art Of Negotiation: Why The Cowboys And Other Teams Are Usually Not In A Hurry.

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There is an art to negotiation. If anyone has ever sold or bought something, we all have seen people who excel in this area, while we too often come out on the short end of the stick. What are some of the secrets?

Show me the money!
Show me the money!
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

When we buy or sell something, someone has to begin the process. A good rule of thumb is "He who sets the price, usually looses!" So, when we see the Cowboys give a low offer to DeMarco Murray, they are just doing a good job of what has to be done when you are placed in the position of having to set the price, and not automatically being at a disadvantage.

When you are the one who has to set the price, then the best thing to do if you are selling is to set the price very high because the buyer will assume that the price is really more than what you really want because you expect to get lower offers. If you are buying, then the best thing to do is to offer a ridiculously low price, knowing that the seller will consider this just a starting point.

So, with DeMarco Murray, the Cowboys began with an offer that they knew that Murray's agents would counter with a ridiculously high offer and then the two sides could work toward a happy medium and one that both sides can live with.

With regards to the waiting period after the initial offer and counter offer, it is seen as a position of strength to let the other guy be the first one to approach with the next counter. If you counter too quickly, it makes you out to be too anxious, while by waiting it appears that you can wait because it is not that urgent since you know you have the best hand.

So, these are the reasons that we are seeing that the Cowboys are sitting back and waiting for the other side to make a move with the latest counter offer. It also is part of the NFL landscape to sometimes let the player take a peek at what other teams feel his value is and then come back to the Cowboys with a reasonable counter offer based upon what certainly should be considered "market value." However, sometimes the player will feel insulted that the team did not value him enough to coddle to him and will sign with another club for spite.

One of the big problems in professional sports is the public display of players salaries. If a regular working guy discussed or leaked his salary he would most likely get fired because human nature being what it is, most people almost always think that they are worth more than the guy working next to them and it removes the proper bargaining environment and almost always causes hurt feelings.

In a proper bargaining environment what others make should not be part of what is discussed because each circumstance is different. Perhaps you have twice the experience of the other guy, and you deserve much more than what he makes, or the reverse might be true. Also, maybe there is less urgency in hiring you than when the other guy was hired. Let's take the example of the workers in the field.....

The farmer comes to town at eight o'clock in the morning and sees a bunch of workers standing around in the "big box" store parking lot. He offers them all $80.00 each for a full eight hours of work. Now, at one o'clock in the afternoon it becomes apparent that the crops will not be in by the deadline and the farmer goes back into town and offers another group $80.00 for the remainder of the day because they would not go for anything less and the farmer was desperate.

What I have been told is that the first group should not complain because they were happy with their deal when they got it, and that "your deal, is your deal, and their deal is their deal." But what usually happens is the other later deal is leaked and a bunch of people get mad.

Some of the problems in pro sports are having to deal with the concept that what you make is everyone else's business. But, it should be just the opposite and because of it, things are more difficult for us fans that cringe when one of our favorite players bolts because he did not get more than someone else playing that same position.

But that is the reality and we have to accept it. So, as we get closer to March 10th when Free Agency begins, we should see more and more offers so as to not let the player test the market for fear that he will get mad and bolt unless he is being so unreasonable that the team has to let him see that what he thought he was worth is just not realistic.

We have all been told to "Buy Low and Sell High" but some how I just keep getting those two things backwards!