'Easy Money': Showdown in Dallas


Never were two words more apropos for a situation in a football game than when television

microphones caught Baltimore Ravens OT Orlando Brown saying them late in last week’s

game against the Dallas Cowboys. The Ravens were in the process of a dominating

performance against the opponent formerly known as America’s Team. 


Brown’s use of “easy money” aptly described what most of Dallas’ opponents have

thought all year, but have not said publicly. Those 294 rushing yards allowed by the

Cowboys defense vs. Baltimore was just another example of what really has become a

weekly referendum on the state of the Cowboys organization. It’s been an organizational

failure in 2020. Hearing it, by an opposing player on national TV, just underlined it once

again for us all. 

 

There is plenty of blame to go around, but that is not the purpose of my writing this column.

I really think what is important is how structure and culture matter when managing a football team. So many disconnects have happened with the Cowboys recently. The problems

begin with the coaching staff and the evaluation of players on the personnel side and then

continue with the actual build of this team, roster-wise. To be fair, Injuries have also been

part of the deal and the Cowboys have been hit harder than most. 


I would have to lay fully prone on the couch in my office and talk all day in clinical fashion to

fully address all the angles and topics that have lead the Cowboys to this point. AND NOW,

being flexed off a Sunday night game by NBC next week is another public rebuke. In any

other year, the networks cannot get enough of this circus. However, in keeping with all that

is 2020, that one move of taking the Cowboys off Sunday’s premier game speaks loudly.

The Cowboys need to come to the realization that they are anything but “prime time”

material. 

 

I am sure SOME change will come. The only question that remains over this team’s final

four games in 2020 is “how much” owner Jerry Jones is willing to bite off? I have no doubt

Jerry wants to win. He is as competitive and supportive as any owner in football and well

respected too. But, this question is flashing now and brighter than ever. Is he willing to

change his own structure/process of how he puts this team together and how will he

manage it going forward? We all know that old definition of insanity, right?

 

The Cowboys’ results this year should indicate to both NFL insiders and fans that a total

overhaul is a necessary option. However, there is one guy whom this should matter most.


He is the same guy who Cowboys fans go to when their team is discussed. He has an

answer more times than not, and he has earned league-wide respect both on and off the

field. I realize he has not done anything to contribute to the dumpster fire this year’s team

has become and, like he always does, he’s taken the high road. Yep, you guessed

it, injured QB Dak Prescott


With what has happened to the Cowboys over the last eight weeks, Prescott’s value has

skyrocketed like no other. They now need him more than ever, however, it’s just not that

simple. In my opinion, Prescott is the only person who can hold owner Jerry Jones

accountable and demand that changes are ample enough to give his career a chance. He

eventually gets to decide if he wants to be part of this team OR NOT. Put yourself in his

shoes and ask how can Dak re-sign up with this team without having faith the organization

will do the things necessary to fix the problems?

 

Money aside, in order to fulfill his goals and dreams, Prescott needs to be with a

winner. He’s going to recover from the injury he sustained in 2020 and he will have the best

doctors and best rehab plan available. His work ethic is without question. Teams will do

their homework. Prescott should have a number of suitors outside of Dallas, should it ever

get to that point. 

 

One can’t resort to the fact that for $35M a year, Prescott should be happy. The minute his

current contract expires, he will be offered north of that figure from several teams. There is

much more to it than that. And, if the Cowboys decide to franchise him again at $37.8M in a

year where the total cap is only $175M, it’s going to make it very, very, very, very hard to

put a quality product on the field with what cap space is available. 


A significant portion of that “available” cap space is already committed to other players

currently on the team. The Cowboys can talk about being willing to use the franchise tag

again, but in doing so, it will really restrict any other moves to better this team. It’s a tough

spot that they have put themselves in. In order to persuade Dak to help lower the team’s

cap number, he first has to sign a new deal. The fact of the matter, however, is it’s his

prerogative or not. 

 

By still being unsigned, Dak has leverage. He has some cards to play, but it’s really up to

him and his agent to see how and when he chooses to play them. All Cowboy fans have

their fingers crossed.



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