One of the entertaining things that happens around this time of year is the way prospective rookies allegedly "move up and down" the draft boards of NFL teams. This often occurs for no other reason than some writer or commentator throwing out a suggestion and, like bloody meat in a pool of sharks, it creates a mindless feeding frenzy.
But then you have those stories generated by statements from teams and players themselves. This is the case with the "Cam Newton to Dallas Cowboys" furor. It was none other than Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones that said he was, in fact, considering taking Newton with the Cowboys' No. 9 pick.
Then Newton confirmed the Cowboys' interest.
"I did have a meeting with the Cowboys last night for 15 minutes," Newton admitted, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "It was one of those teams that I did speak with. As far as any teams right now...I'm not going to get particular [about] which teams that I'm interested in, because right now I'm interested in every single team that's in the NFL who's willing to take me as a player."
All of this raises the question: Is Jerry Jones serious about drafting Newton, or is this a bluff?
Certainly, part of the intrigue of the NFL draft is the games these men play with one another. It is like watching the World Series of Poker. Who is really doing what?
Jerry Jones could be feeding the Newton fire as a bluff for a couple of reasons:
- Interest in Newton is gaining steam, even by teams at the top of the board. With Carolina, Denver and Buffalo sitting one, two and three, it is unlikely the Auburn phenom and Heisman Trophy winner makes it past those guys. Jones could simply be confirming for them the perceived value of the pick, nudging them onward.
- It makes sense that the Cowboys would like for teams to take as many quarterbacks as possible before they pick at nine. Each pick burned by a position that is not a need for the Dallas Cowboys pushes a player they do want another notch down, closer to them.
- The Redskins are picking at 11. If Newton slides down the board, the Cowboys may be looking to move down, but not too far down. Maybe the Redskins, who do need a quarterback and would be salivating at the prospects of nabbing Newton, would give up the family farm to move two slots and get their man, especially if Jerry Jones is threatening to take their man to Dallas.
Of course, it may not be a bluff at all. Jones and Jason Garrett may actually believe in Newton. Or, maybe they have lost faith in Tony Romo? I do not believe that. But it is possible.
The problem with Newton to the Cowboys is that the team would be burning a rare top-10 pick on a player that would not likely see the field for two years, at least. It is highly unlikely that they would throw him to the sharks his rookie year, especially when they seem to believe they have the talent to compete for the Super Bowl right now if they can just get a couple of key pieces.
The Cowboys drafting Newton would confirm to me that Jones is, as suspected, more suited to running a circus than a football team. He is just the 21st century's version of P.T. Barnum.
What a lethal combination Newton and Jones could be for Cowboys fans.
Newton has already declared himself bigger than the game of football: "I see myself not only as a football player, but an entertainer and icon.”
That might work for guys like LeBron James in the narcissistic, superstar-driven NBA, where raw ball skills are enough to win titles. But in the complicated world of NFL football, a guy who hasn't completed a single pass in the league already worrying about his "brand" has to be a red flag. Kind of makes you think maybe the big stud is actually his father's son.
Here's hoping Jones is bluffing. Here is hoping he is just goading some other poor slob to mortgage his team's future on the NFL's next great disaster.
If not, here is hoping Jerry's boy, Stephen, will grab the nearest straight jacket and have dad committed before he destroys what is left the Dallas Cowboys.