The NFL’s period of legal tampering has been an emotional rollercoaster for Dallas Cowboys fans. First came the good news that they had agreed to a new three-year contract with DeMarcus Lawrence. This freed up needed plug space while avoiding a major hole to fill. Then came reports that some of that ceiling space was going to re-sign Randy Gregory, raising spirits even further. But then came the plunge when news broke that Gregory had changed his mind at the last minute and was going to the Denver Broncos instead. It left us confused and wondering what happened.
The answer is not hard to find. It seems that once again the team, or more precisely the owners, have outdone themselves.
The overthrow of Randy Gregory at the #Broncos was 100 percent a matter of #Cowboys tinkering with the wording of the contract at the last moment. Like it or not, you cannot enter with this maneuver when there is another team waiting, just waiting for an opening.
—Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) March 15, 2022
That’s just the latest symptom pointing to a major problem for the Cowboys. While the last few days have begun to reveal that there is indeed a plan for the team, this bit of underhanded maneuvering to gain an advantage, along with some ridiculous nickel-and-diming in other cases, unfortunately seems to do integral part of this plan. This is just the most recent and glaring example.
The first chapter in this year’s story about the seriousness of the situation for the Jones family, and in particular Stephen Jones, was the highly publicized incident where he spoke to the media about how Amari Cooper’s contracts and Lawrence were big problems for the salary cap. . He maintained his position that the cap is a hard line that the team must respect. Then the team proved how wrong this concept is. With some restructuring, the Cooper trade and the Lawrence deal, they went from red in the cap space to one of the best cap situations in the league.
According to Over the Cap, they now have over $28 million in space, seventh most in the NFL. With La’el Collins due to be released at some point, that should go up, though how they handle that will determine if it’s just $1.3 million or $10 million. In any case, they now have the ability to do just about anything they want. Re-signing Gregory was apparently something that had new space reserved for it. Now they’ve blown that, and in addition to losing a key part of the defense, they have to do something to try to assuage what might be some bad feelings from Lawrence, who gave them a very favorable to the team. If part of selling Lawrence on his new contract was bringing Gregory back, he’s probably feeling a little burnt.
We discussed the Randy Gregory saga in an Emergency episode on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Be sure to subscribe to our network so you don’t miss any of our shows! Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
Dallas had already done some damage to the culture with the awkward way they treated Cooper. There was absolutely no reason to air all the dirty laundry in the media. While it’s proven that management and staff had latched onto Cooper over various behind-the-scenes issues, there was never any need to drag it all out. All of this should have been kept inside the building. Negotiating through the media is unfortunately a well-established trait for the Joneses, and it always has negative consequences whether the team wins or loses. Most of the time it’s not an overall win for management as they are forced to give in late or see the players they want go somewhere else that offers the promise of better or more honest treatment.
These incidents are not accidents, but the result of an intentionally “hard-nosed” way of managing their roster. Contract negotiations are treated far too much as a zero-sum game rather than focusing on finding a way for both parties to come out on top. Not only are they reported to have changed a deal after it was verbally agreed, but they also seemed to “nickel and dime” the contract in the manner that has created so many problems in the past. It also reflects the Jones’ attitude that they are the smartest people in the room. But too often, the only ones they outsmart are themselves.
Now, there’s a report that Gregory’s mess is a sign of dysfunction at the top.
Jerry Jones was passionate about getting this deal done and was largely responsible for making it happen. Post-agreement change was not his idea/his action.
I was told that Jerry Jones was livid.
—Patrick [No C] Walker (@VoiceOfTheStar) March 15, 2022
For years, Stephen increasingly took over the day-to-day operations of the team, with cap management and contract negotiations forming a large part of his portfolio. But Jerry is still involved in the personal negotiations, as the tweet above indicates. If this is close to the truth, then we have the potential for a rift and eventual power struggle within the Jones family. This is a very negative development, at least in the short term.
It’s all about the Jones family. They are the only ones who can fix this, and the prospects for this are dim as it would require a few very stubborn people to change themselves. What we learned through all of this is that there is a plan for the team, and for a brief period it seemed to pay off. Unfortunately, Stephen Jones’ ineffective and counterproductive approach to contracts and cap management, primarily in this case his focus on what should be minor issues and his underhanded way of throwing things out at the last minute , are included in this plan. There have been self-inflicted and preventable injuries this season, and it’s an all-too-familiar pattern. Now they have a lot of damage control to deal with. It’s always harder when those trying to fix things are the ones who created the problem in the first place.