FRISCO - The reputation reverberates on. But Cowboys Nation is living in a time warp.
How else to explain the parade of big-money acquisition ideas that pass across the desk of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, if only briefly, before landing on the desks of national media members ...
And sticking there?
The latest example of this phenomenon does not come from the "basement bloggers'' or the aggregators but rather from the responsible mouth and brain of NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen, who states - as if it is the most obvious thing in the world - that Dallas should trade for disgruntled Seattle Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf.
“Dallas should be on the phone to Seattle right now,” Eisen said. “How huge would DK Metcalf be with a star on the side of his helmet? … I do appreciate his star ability to make himself a figurative star wherever he goes, but the star on the side of that helmet. Thanksgiving days, Monday nights, Sunday nights.
"DK Metcalf on the Dallas Cowboys is exactly the play that Jerry Jones would make, is exactly the play Jerry Jones is built to make ...''
If this was 1992 and Charles Haley.
If this was 2000 and Joey Galloway.
If this was 2012 and Brandon Carr.
But in 2022? This is absolutely not "the play Jerry Jones would make.''
There might be some merit to Dallas' reluctance to "go there'' again after feeling burned by the Amari Cooper transaction. The Cowboys gave a first-rounder to the Raiders to get him, started paying him $20 million APY, didn't like the overall results, and salary-dumped him in a worthless trade to Cleveland.
But there is something more far-ranging going on here, and that is the influence of Jerry's son, Stephen, essentially this team's co-GM now. It is Stephen's believe that both the roster and the cap be balanced in a way that maximizes the possibility of long-term contention ... as opposed to "loading up'' and "going for it'' in a singular year.
Additionally, under Stephen (and personnel boss Will McClay) the Dallas philosophy has become centered on the idea of "We develop and sign our own.''
Put it all together and that's why the Cowboys presently sit on $22 million in cap room. Spend it on a new contract for a Dallas-bound Metcalf? And, for that matter, on Minnesota free agent linebacker Anthony Barr or Chicago holdout pass-rusher Robert Quinn? Sure. Or ...
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Keep that $22 million stashed for the rainy day when the next bills on CeeDee Lamb and Trevon Diggs and Micah Parsons come due.
Look at the philosophy in practice. At wide receiver alone, the evidence of this concept is everywhere.
Michael Gallup, drafted in 2018 and re-signed this year to a $13 million APY deal.
CeeDee Lamb, drafted in 2020, and eligible for his big-money season in spring of 2023.
It wouldn't be "wrong'' to trade a treasure trove (Eisen suggests a single first-round pick, which seems low) for Metcalf, a 24-year-old budding superstar who would indeed become a household name here. It wouldn't be "wrong'' to pay him $25 million APY, either, as that is now the going rate.
What would be "wrong'' is to think that doing any of this is presently "The Cowboys Way.''
Cowboys Nation doesn't have to agree with the philosophy being practiced by Stephen (and Will, and Jerry). The Los Angeles Rams presently exemplify another way, a "loading up'' and "going for it'' way that has put them in two Super Bowls in the last four years.
But ... the Rams' way, in terms of winning big, is working.
The Cowboys' way is not.
My recent one-on-one visit with Jerry featured his insistence that he's still "bold'' and still "reckless'' in a good way. But as other NFL teams, especially at wide receiver, do bold things (Davante Adams to the Raiders, Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins, AJ Brown to the Eagles). ... I can tell you that there is no particularly movement inside The Star in this direction at this time. And I can tell you that the Cowboys seem committed to sticking with a philosophy that is different from the one Eisen is "misremembering'' - and one that has essentially been in place here in Dallas for a decade.
Eisen is a keen Cowboys observer. But so are you, Cowboys Nation. So you are as qualified as anyone to answer the DK-to-Dallas question: In 2022, is this is really "the play Jerry Jones would make''?
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