A survey of NFL agents about Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who also serves as the team's general manager, generated a wide range of feedback.
"Jerry needs to get his ass out of the way. He's a narcissist," one agent told Ben Standig of The Athletic for an article released Wednesday. "He's also a great businessman. Stay in your lane. He plays GM like a fan."
Others had a more positive outlook on the 78-year-old Los Angeles native.
"Jerry is a very, very interesting person," another agent told Standig. "Respect the way he treats people. He puts winning and players first, do what it takes to win. Believes you win with players, so he takes care of them. That they haven't won a Super Bowl lately, oh well, lots of teams haven't. I have great respect for them."
Jones purchased the Cowboys in 1989 and found ample success in the early years as the franchise captured Super Bowl titles in 1992, 1993 and 1995, which reignited use of the America's Team label that originated in the 1970s, when the team won its first two championships.
Dallas hasn't returned to the NFL's mountaintop since that 1995 triumph, however, which has raised questions about whether he should cede some front-office control to other executives.
In January, Jones was asked on 105.3 The Fan (via ESPN's Todd Archer) whether he'd shifted too much focus toward the Cowboys' brand and financial factors, like the NFL's television ratings, and away from the team's game-to-game success.
He didn't feel that was the case:
"Where the misnomer is that I care any more or less about that than I do making a first down. That's where it goes [awry] and that's where it's not right. Every chance I'm given an opportunity to trade dollars, or if you will, trade an issue of visibility or an issue of promotion, every chance that I get a chance I go for the first down, every chance—I'll go back to when I bought the team. That was the most money that had ever come out of anybody's pocket to get into sport. And, somehow, God willing, I got the spot to do it and I gave every damn bit of it up to buy the Cowboys, because I would rather have that than have the money."
What constitutes success isn't an easy answer. Even though the Cowboys haven't won a Super Bowl in 25 years, they've become the most valuable franchise in the NFL with an estimated value of $6.5 billion ahead of the 2021 season, which is $1.5 billion more than any other team, according to Forbes.
Yet the longer Dallas goes without adding another Lombardi Trophy to its case, the more questions will be raised about whether Jones should hand the chief roster-building decisions to someone else.
One agent told Standig that Jones is a "dream for an agent" because he's "trying to win and I don't think you can say that about half the ownership in the league," but another pointed toward the lack of title-level success and raised an interesting question.
"Jerry Jones is like [former Raiders owner] Al Davis. He's calling the shots whether you agree with them or not," the agent told The Athletic. "Consider this: If Dallas had a GM for 25 years and they never won a Super Bowl during that time, would that guy still be Jerry's GM? Come on."
Of course, the hypotheticals don't really matter since Jones hasn't shown any interest in stepping away from the GM role.
The Cowboys kick off the new season Sept. 9 when they visit the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.