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Miles Austin Contract: The Dallas Cowboys' Best Move All Year

Jonathan Bales@thecowboystimesAnalyst ISeptember 10, 2010

SAN DIEGO - AUGUST 21:  Wide receiver Miles Austin #19 of the Dallas Cowboys catches a touchdown pass against corner back Quentin Jammer #23 of the San Diego Chargers during their preseason NFL football game at Qualcomm Stadium on August 21, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

In our new DC Times blog, I briefly discussed why the contract given to Miles Austin was the smartest move Dallas made all year.

Just after writing that, I noted that ESPN writer Calvin Watkins (who I really like) just tweeted, “To sign 2 WR to nearly $100 million worth of contracts blows me away.”

I’ve heard the same sentiments echoed a lot recently: how can the Cowboys sign Miles Austin to such a hefty contract when they already dished out so much cash to Roy Williams?  It isn’t business-savvy to put so much capital into one small component (the wide receiver position) of your company, is it?

Well, no, but only as it relates to future decisions.  That is, if you were to build an NFL franchise, you wouldn’t want to throw 90 percent of the cash into 10 percent of the positions.  “Stars and scrubs” teams have shown to be inferior to more balanced squads (sorry, Miami Heat).

The fact that Williams already has a deal, though, should mean absolutely nothing to Dallas in terms of their willingness to sign Austin.  The retroactive thinking invoked in using Williams’ deal as justification to hold back on Austin’s is illogical.  In terms of a business, Williams’ contract is a sunk cost.  Like it or not, that money is gone.

This same sort of irrational thinking is abundant around the league.  How many times have you heard a team hint that they won’t cut a guy in August because they already paid him a big bonus in March?  Teams think their previous investment dictates future decisions, but this isn’t poker—your investment isn’t coming back.

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Instead, teams need to look forward and ask, “Is Player X worth Y amount of dollars in the future?”  Because they aren’t going to regain their initial investment (as opposed to a poker player who can regain the chips he has already wagered), any past decisions should have no bearing on a team’s future ones.

For Dallas, the only thing that they needed to worry about concerning Austin’s contract is Austin—not Roy Williams.  That isn’t to say the deals of certain players can’t at all affect those of others, but rather that past decisions should have no influence on future contracts.

By the way, for all you 'Boys fans out there. . .

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