We are still waiting for news about the long-discussed, on-and-off flirtation between the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas. It is quite different this time around, however. A recent comment from executive VP Stephen Jones laid out just how.
Stephen Jones on @1053thefan asked indirectly about potentially adding someone like Earl Thomas: Well just as we didn't talk about Everson until it was done, we found that works much better for us.— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) August 24, 2020
We all know how the under-the-radar pursuit of Everson Griffen turned out. That gives us reason to keep hoping that the team will work out something with the still-talented Thomas. Something that will be team-friendly as well.
This is such a major change, and might explain the odd silence from the owner and GM, and Stephen’s father, Jerry Jones. He has been markedly absent from the microphones that have long drawn him like a moth to a flame. Part of that is undoubtedly due to Jerry being in a high-risk category because of his age and taking social distancing seriously, but with the availability of so many virtual options, this appears more and more to be a deliberate strategy to do a better job with talent acquisition.
Old dogs learning new tricks is becoming a real trend with the Cowboys. A lot of the changes in philosophy and techniques have been credited to Mike McCarthy’s influence as the new head coach, and the departure of Jason Garrett and his clearly different approach to the business of the game. Stephen’s remark is more than just a hint that it goes deeper. Even if McCarthy had some input into this shift, the success with which they have done so this offseason offers persuasive evidence that the Jones family was either headed this direction or needed a much slighter push than almost anyone could have predicted.
That evidence is strong and has been accumulating. The last example of the brain trust really tipping their thinking was the departure of Byron Jones in free agency. Flags were waving all over the place that it was coming. But after that, almost all the major moves were one surprise after another. Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and Aldon Smith all raised eyebrows as the executives gave no hints that those moves were coming, and Griffen was just the most recent out-of-the-blue move. Now, the fact that the cone of silence remains pretty firmly in place around any possible pursuit of Thomas is actually encouraging.
It was not a complete departure from the past, as all of the signings so far have been very much in accordance with the well-established desire to not overspend for free agent talent. All the signings have brought smiles to those who keep a close watch on spending and cap management. Not all has been rosy, as the Dak Prescott situation still sticks in most craws. But outside of the use of the franchise tag for his current season, it is hard to criticize any of the rest of the offseason moves.
The apparent success, pending it all being seen on the field in real games, means that this is not likely to be a temporary aberration, but a long-term shift in the way things are done inside the Star. That is very good. The unfortunate habit of negotiating in public and telegraphing what was coming was not generally seen in a good light. While some remnants of that remain with the Prescott contract, with Stephen in particular seeming to lay some groundwork for why the team can’t devote too much of the cap on a hoped-for long-term deal for the quarterback, the rest of the signings have come without any signalling or social media manipulation.
Frankly, that’s the way it should always have been, and should always be. It is clear that the advantages of keeping the business part of running the Cowboys private are an asset for the team. While it may cut down a bit on how much we have to talk about during the slower times of the year, the sudden announcements of unexpected acquisitions are just fun.