Owner: Jerry Jones
CEO and Director of Player Personnel: Stephen Jones
Head Coach: Jason Garrett
Where to begin here? It starts and ends with Jerry Jones. While the success the Dallas Cowboys had in Jones' early years as owner needs to be brought into the conversation to an extent, the NFL is a "what have you done for me lately?" league.
Jones and the 'Boys haven't done much since calendars changed to the new millennium. It's kind of like they faded with fads of the 1990s such as The Macarena, flip-top phones and tube televisions.
Dallas has won a total of one playoff game since the end of the 1996 season. Coincidentally, that was the last run for The Big Three. Troy Aikiman struggled in his final four seasons, going 24-28 as a starter. Michael Irvin moved on three years later, while Emmitt Smith began what was a gradual decline.
What has happened to the Cowboys front office since borders on hilarity.
The Cowboys have had five different head coaches since those years, mostly either in-house promotions or retread options. None of these coaches possessed a great relationship with Jones, and the lack of continuity from the sideline to the front office became apparent.
Jones would end up making more appearances on the sidelines towards the end of the game, which seemed to show up the coach. While Jones has only fired one of these coaches (Wade Phillips) midseason, his relationships with them, at least in a public eye, have been impacted by his strong-armed approach.
For the lack of a better word, Jones is the face of the Cowboys player personnel department. He makes the selections come April and negotiates contracts with free agents and extensions with veteran holdovers.
At times, the results have been nothing less than comical. Just take a gander at some of the picks Dallas has made in the NFL draft. Interestingly enough, Dallas seemed to draft well over the past couple of years, prior to this past April.
It was, however, the Cowboys' struggles from 2006-2009 that seems to have led to a mediocre product on the field.
From linebacker Bobby Carpenter in the first round of the 2006 draft to Felix Jones in the first round two years later, Dallas missed on picks it needed to hit on in order to take that next step among the best in the NFC.
The Jones pick in 2008 really stands out to me. Dallas picked up that first-rounder in a trade with the Cleveland Browns the previous year. That deal netted the Browns the bust that is Brady Quinn.
Even without getting into detail about the parameters of the deal, which didn't work out too well for the Cowboys, they missed big time with the Jones selection.
Running backs Rashard Mendenhall and Chris Johnson went in the picks immediately following where Dallas selected Jones.
In a nutshell, Dallas has failed more often than it has succeeded in the draft since its drought as a true Super Bowl contender began nearly two decades ago.
The biggest blunder that Dallas' front office has made with Jones at the helm has to be considered the ill-conceived trade for wide receiver Roy Williams.
During the 2008 season, Dallas sent four picks, including a first-and-third round pick to the Detroit Lions for the former first-round pick.
Williams went on to to sign a five-year, $45 million extension after the deal was completed, a contract that gave him $20 million guaranteed (via ESPN).
In less than three seasons with Dallas, Williams caught just 94 passes for 1,324 yards and 13 touchdowns. These are numbers that Jones and Co. expected him to put up over the course of a single season.
Below are a list of players Dallas could have netted with those two valuable picks it yielded to Detroit in the deal.
Hindsight is 20-20, but this deal stands out to me because it seemed one-sided at the time it was made.
Williams had put up a total of one 1,000-yard season with Detroit and regressed in terms of production during the first half of the 2008 season before being traded to Dallas.
You simply cannot give up those types of picks in the NFL today unless you are getting back someone who has proven himself to be a perennial Pro Bowl performer. Williams had not played at that level prior to his trade to the Cowboys.
Don't even get me started on the ridiculous free-agent signings that Dallas has made over the past few seasons.
From washed-up veterans such as Eddie George and Drew Bledsoe to questionable character acquisitions such as Adam "Pac Man" Jones and Mike Vanderjagt, Dallas has failed at nearly every turn in free agency.
The one saving grace here for Dallas is that it does have a keen eye for talent. How else would you explain picking up quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Miles Austin as undrafted free agents?
In addition, the Cowboys may have turned the corner when it comes to the draft. While too early to call the 2013 draft, Jones and Co. hit on a multitude of picks over the past couple of seasons.
Cornerback Morris Claiborne, offensive tackle Tyron Smith and linebacker Sean Lee come to mind first.
Let's see if they can sustain that type of success moving forward and avoid the disaster that has been free agency.