Last night, while enjoying a round-table discussion with a few friends, who are also Cowboys fans by the way, I got to thinking and doing so out loud. You see, this Dez Bryant contract situation is but fifteen days from it's ultimate conclusion. Yet, for all the talk about it by every local media platform and the stirring of the pot if you will, there is absolutely no shred of acrimony here. This is just a negotiation, and nobody is better at wearing the negotiation jacket than one Jerry Jones.
This organization has changed it's philosophy over the last few seasons and by doing so they have completely destroyed any and every meme and narrative that can be written. Part of that comes with turning over some authority to Stephen Jones and the other comes from solidifying both the coaching staff and personnel department. However, the thing that's got me pontificating the most is the still very valuable asset that Jerry Jones is to this team. With all this talk about Stephen Jones, it's easy to sometimes forget the old dog that has this team where it currently sits.
Jerry Jones is an NFL pioneer and innovator of many things that has made this sport the reigning and undefeated heavyweight champion of sports. He's also the NFL's most recognized owner and don't think for one moment that isn't by design. He's the only owner in the league that is also the general manager and gives his own post-game interviews. He is Jerry "Freaking" Jones and has done more for the NFL than any predecessors could have ever imagined. He bought the team for $140 million and turned it into the richest franchise in football by a mile and second only to Real Madrid in the world at $3.2 billion.
That's not all though, when the NFL was negotiating TV rights back in the early 90's, Jerry Jones spearheaded a small group of owners, and refused to give-in to large cable networks that were losing millions of dollars. He then positioned himself atop the broadcasting committee that convinced Rupert Murdoch to snag the rights away from CBS in a deal that netted the league over $1 billion. Jerry would continue to be instrumental in negotiating mega-broadcast deals that has given the NFL a stranglehold on television ratings ever since.
Jones' practically wrote the book on big-name sponsorships and was actually sued by the NFL, but after showing the opposition the dollars and cents; everyone was on board. There would be unprecedented licensing deals and competitive sponsors from all over the globe had to opt-in. Even under the current agreement, the Cowboys are the only team allowed to market their own apparel.
He's never been without his many detractors, often viewed as a man who takes too many risks, even his son Stephen tried to talk him out of purchasing the Cowboys in the late 80's. However, this is what makes Jerry Jones tick, and nobody can argue the results he's had. Most NFL teams are still trying to play catch up to him in a sense of how to build a sustainable brand. How can you explain the relevance and marketability of this franchise as it dealt with the post-dynasty and three mediocre seasons? Jerry Jones is a winner and when it comes to building that foundation, he will stop at nothing to negotiate any way he can. He's a visionary.
In his time, he's negotiated huge contracts for huge stars like Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders and more. He's a closer. Some way, some how Jerry Jones has found the way to get ink to paper when it matters most for his team. Something he's trying to instill in his son Stephen, who is the likely heir to the throne.
So when we bring this all back to Dez Bryant, we have just a minor struggle in ideology. Stephen is rightfully in no hurry because he owns the cards. At the same time, deadlines get deals done, period. The entire organization wants Dez to have his money and financial security. Jerry understands that sometimes you may not feel pressure to get things done, but the overwhelming optimism that is flung in the locker room after such can be rewarding as well. This team is headed for great things in many people's eyes including the Jones', and for Jerry, it's best to have his emotional leader doing what he was born to do; lead.
The rumors are that the two sides are close; the Cowboys could set the wide receiver market. Yet, Jerry Jones has never cared about being the first man to draw his weapon. He's a true maverick and marvel in the same sentence. There is nobody better at doing what Jerry Jones can do, not now, and probably not in the near future. This is the time that the wheeler and dealer in him is most appreciated, he's even helping the Dallas Mavericks close deals in NBA free agency. So, forget all the Priceline commercials with William Shatner, because the ultimate negotiator is the three-time Super Bowl winning, $4.2 billionaire, Jerry Jones.