What Jerry Jones Means By “Poison Pill”

James WilliamsonSenior Writer IMarch 22, 2010

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 31:  Miles Austin #19 of the NFC's Dallas Cowboys looks on during the 2010 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl game at Sun Life Stadium on January 31, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The AFC defeated the NFC 41-34. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Miles Austin is, without a doubt, an incredible receiver. His first start was against Kansas City and he had 10 catches for 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime.

When my father and I saw that last touchdown in our living room during the game, my jaw dropped and stayed there while my father’s eyes became the size of ping-pong balls. 

He didn't stop there either. The next game against Atlanta after the bye week, he had six catches for 171 yards and another pair of touchdowns.

His biggest highlight to me was when Dallas was playing Philadelphia in their house, and he catches the only touchdown by running his route perfectly past Sheldon Brown, who Tony Romo pump-faked out of position, to win the game. It was 49 yards.

In 12 starts, and some playing time in the other four games, he accumulated 1,320 receiving yards off of 81 catches and 11 touchdowns. That’s an average of 16.3 yards per catch, 5.1 catches per game, and 82.5 yards per game. Not bad huh?

He was probably the most exciting receiver to watch in the NFL over that period of time. I knew he was good because I had seen him play before, but not in my wildest dreams would he have had the immediate impact he did.

It was just a treat to watch how this young athletic talent showed how much he had learned in practice and from other receivers by incorporating it into his game and making plays.

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And, being the success that he is, the Cowboys certainly do not want to lose this emerging star, so they have placed first and third round tenders on him just to be safe.

However, football is a business, and business is ruthless.

“Poison pill” is a business term used for corporate takeovers or in this case, player contracts. Remember that scene in “License to Kill” with Timothy Dalton as James Bond going after that drug lord Sanchez, who had almost killed his best friend, Felix Leiterll.

Well, he’s been prevented from assassinating Sanchez by undercover Hong Kong narcotics agents who are trying to get Sanchez and his entire organization for drug operations. Before they can sedate Bond, Sanchez’s people attack them and the main Hong Kong guy is injured and can’t leave.

Sanchez shows up and he tries to force the agent to talk, but he has taken a cyanide capsule to kill himself.

That’s what a real “poison pill” is. Agents use it to prevent themselves from being tortured into giving up information should they be caught. A corporate “poison pill” is a situation that makes it close to impossible for one party to take over another business or a certain business transaction.

Jerry Jones wants to keep Miles Austin with the Dallas Cowboys, and those first and third round tenders mean a team will have to give up a first and third round draft pick in order to be able to make a deal with Miles Austin.

Jones doesn’t want a team to get to Miles and give a guarantee in a contract like, "we promise to make you the highest paid receiver in the conference and we’ll pay you extra by how well you perform."

That’s a poison pill because in an uncapped year like this, Jerry Jones and his son Stephen Jones, who is the vice president of the Cowboys, do not want to pay through the nose to get Miles Austin.

Miles had a great year yes, but if Dallas overpays him then what does that do in the locker room with other players and their egos?

It sets a bad precedent for us, and Dallas wants its players to know that you will get paid by how you perform, and we want more than just one year of production to prove you weren’t a fluke.

If some team were to get desperate and make a “poison pill” offer then Dallas may just lose Miles Austin and get draft picks instead of a young, talented, team player, wide receiver.

Let's hope for the best.


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