Jerry and Stephen Jones have a tenured history on the “we like our guys” hill. However, the playoff loss to the 49ers marked the 12th straight postseason appearance that the Cowboys fell short of a conference championship appearance, good for the longest streak of such in NFL history. Let that sink in.
“Anybody who thinks I won’t take a chance has misread the tea leaves,” Jones said. “But I do think longer term, and I’m real hesitant to bet it all for a year. There’s a lot of things that can happen for that year. In essence, we’re seeing a couple of teams [the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles] that have had some real success putting it all out there and paying for it later. Don’t think that doesn’t pop in my head end get my eye as far as doing it, and I know how to do that. It’s part of what you put in that computer and what comes out. We’ll see how it comes, but that’s pretty impressive to have two teams in the last two years empty the bucket and get to the Super Bowl. But if you miss, it’s a long go.”
“On the other hand, my general experience has been that if you will stay aggressive, I’m talking whether it’s on the field or off the field, but you pick your shots with risk-taking, and I’ve spent a lot of time in my life doing that,” Jones continued. “When they cut me open, it will be all those scars, heart attacks, for all those risks I took and the years I spent paying for them. My point is, I do know how to take risks. They are absolutely right. We have been in the middle here for a few years, but I like where we are right now, more in the middle. But given the opportunity, if it would make some sense, I’ve definitely got some risk-taking in me.”
After the Cowboys lost to the 49ers in last year’s wildcard round, you think that would have been the perfect time to take a few risks. Those risks included James Washington and Dante Fowler, whom in hindsight, both added very limited production to the Cowboys this season. The problem is exactly that. The window for the Cowboys has been open since the franchise quarterback was on a rookie contract, but they continually fail to to seize the opportunity and instead go bargain-bin shopping.
Take a look at the Rams last season and Eagles this season.
The Rams traded for Matthew Stafford that involved three premium draft picks. This isn’t suggesting the Cowboys should do that, exactly, but they have enough draft capital to improve their team in areas of need. On top of that, they landed Von Miller at the trade deadline, signed Odell Beckham Jr, and brought back Eric Weddle for their playoff run. What’s the excuse for the Cowboys not making moves like those?
Now to look at this year’s Super Bowl bound Eagles. Besides A.J Brown, who was traded for a first-round pick, every other one of their offensive starters is homegrown. So, does drafting players as building blocks work? Yes, but there is an obvious caveat that free agency and trading needs to utilized. They signed Kyzir White, Haason Reddick, James Bradberry, and traded for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson this past offseason, all of which contributed to them being one of the best defenses in the NFL. Reddick had 16 sacks this season and bolstered the Eagles pass rush to one of the worst in the league, with 29 sacks in 2021, ranking them 31st, to one of the best groups in the NFL this year.
So, both teams that represented the NFC in the Super Bowl each of the last two years have traded their first-round picks and acquired a barrage of impactful players to get them into a winning position. Jerry Jones has proved he is willing to make big splashes, they are just too infrequent and many times, those splashes are far too late.
The Cowboys need to take a page out of those two team’s books. The time is now to improve this team because it proved yet again not good enough to get over the hump that has blockaded the Cowboys for almost three decades.