Jerry Jones, the Cowboys GM, Puts Himself on Record

troy testaCorrespondent IMay 20, 2009

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 16:  Owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, looks on during warmups before the game against the Washington Redskins on November 16, 2008 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Jerry Jones the GM puts himself on record with wide receiver moves.

When Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys for $150 million, back in 1989, Cowboys fans weren’t sure what to make of their brash new owner and general manager.  Twenty years later, some still don’t.   

The baby boomer Cowboys fans have yet to forgive Jones for relieving Tom Landry of his head coaching duties, but should Jones really apologize for hiring Jimmy Johnson?  When the Cowboys won their third Super Bowl championship in 1995, it seemed that Jones was infallible.  My, how times have changed.

Ask a random Cowboys fan what he thinks of Jerry Jones as an owner, and unless they are graying in the temples and sporting a Fedora hat, the answer will be positive.  Ask the same fan their opinion of Jerry Jones as a General Manger, and the venom flies.

Jones is the longest tenured GM in the NFL.  Not because of his track record of shrewd personnel moves and signing players below their market value, but because he refuses to relieve himself of duty.  Consider Jones most recent moves: issuing a gag order to head coach Wade Phillips and cutting Terrell Owens less than a year after signing him to an extension.

You don’t even have to look outside the Cowboys' coaching fraternity to ponder the ridiculousness of gagging the head coach.  Can you imagine Landry or Jimmy Johnson or Bill Parcells being gagged by the GM? 

Johnson probably would have fought Jones in the halls at Valley Ranch, and Parcells would have tendered his resignation on the spot.  Only a GM wielding an owner’s power stick would dare make such a move without fear of disastrous repercussions.  And within the duality of the roles lies the problem.

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Cutting T.O. is the latest chapter of the ongoing saga that is Jerry Jones and the wide receiver position.  Jones traded away two first-round draft picks in 2000 and 2001 to acquire Joey Galloway.  Jones passed on Randy Moss.  Last year, Jones traded a first-, third-, and fifth-round draft pick for Detroit wide receiver Roy Williams. 

Says Jones, “I’m excited about Roy, so I’d rather have him than the [three] picks we gave up for him this draft.”  The numbers don’t support the move, not losing what Owens brought and not gaining what Williams brings.  No matter how petulant or divisive Owens has proven to be to the Cowboys, you can’t argue with the production.

In the last three years, Owens missed only one game, had three consecutive 1,000+yard receiving seasons and averaged 12.6 touchdowns per season.  Owen’s Cowboys career stats are 235 catches for 3,587 yards and 38 touchdowns.  Only hall of famer Michael Irvin did it better over a three-year span from 1993-95, catching 278 passes for 4,174 yards and 23 TDs.  In Williams' five year professional career, he has posted only one 1,000+ yard receiving season (2006).  Last year, Williams was so bad he set career lows for receptions (36), yards (430) and touchdowns (2).  

Jones got an up close look of what Williams could do in offensive coordinator Jason Garret’s system.  The numbers were terrible, but Jones has declared Williams is his guy, and in so doing, he staked his reputation as a general manager on the results.  With the draft coming next month, track the players drafted where the Cowboys would have selected, and compare that with Williams' numbers for the next three seasons.

“No, no added pressure, it’s not my first rodeo,” said Williams about becoming the team’s new No. 1 receiving target.  “I’ve been doing this since I was in Pop Warner.”