A tale of two Jerrys

Jerry Jones reportedly wouldn’t give Denver a first-rounder for WR Jerry Jeudy

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is never shy in front of the cameras, especially when it comes to self-promotion. We often hear from Dallas’ head honcho that he’s willing to do “whatever” it takes to win. That makes for a good sound bite to get the fan base excited, but when presented with those opportunities, Jones rarely capitalizes.

The Cowboys completed a trade over the weekend, acquiring wide receiver Brandin Cooks from the Houston Texans. The Cowboys got Cooks for a couple of late-round picks in the 2023 and 2024 drafts. Come to find out, Cooks was basically the consolation prize for Dallas as the team was in contention to land Denver Broncos wideout Jerry Jeudy. Jones reportedly didn’t want to give up a first-round pick for Jeudy.

Holding onto a first-rounder for?

While it’s understandable not wanting to let go of that first-round pick, there would’ve been a few advantages to bringing Jeudy to Big D. For one, he’s still on his rookie deal and makes a lot less money than Cooks right now. Although the Broncos’ former first-rounder will be up for an extension soon, the Cowboys could’ve gotten at least one year where his deal costs them next to nothing. Extra spending money for free agents (even your own) is always a good thing.

In terms of production, there wasn’t a huge gap between Cooks and Jeudy last year, although the latter is viewed as having the greater upside being about five years younger. Playing in that Dallas offense might have helped Jeudy grow immensely as a pro. Having played at Alabama, it’s almost expected that Jeudy will become one of the next great receiving threats in the NFL.

During Jeudy’s first three years in the league, he has yet to have a quarterback who can get him the ball consistently. We all witnessed the Russell Wilson/Nathaniel Hackett situation in Denver last season. It would’ve been difficult for some all-time greats to have thrived in that environment. But that lack of production (despite the circumstances) might have been enough for Jones to think twice about Jeudy and opt for Cooks.

That’s Jerry, though. He loves his draft picks. Some mock drafts have Dallas taking another receiver anyway, so they could still end up with another pass catcher on a minimal deal. Dallas selected a receiver in last year’s draft, taking Jalen Tolbert from South Alabama in the third round. In his rookie campaign, Tolbert barely touched the field, catching two balls for 12 yards.

Dallas snags a wide receiver, but not the one fans expected

Brandin Cooks will remain in Texas, but not with the Texans.

The Dallas Cowboys got their man. Not the player many fans might be thinking of, but they targeted a wide receiver and got him. Per ESPN, the Cowboys have acquired Brandin Cooks from the Houston Texans for a fifth and sixth-round draft pick. Not a steep price at all for a receiver once considered one of the best young wideouts in the NFL.

This is the best Cowboys fans can hope for out of Jerry Jones during free agency. Jones isn’t willing to spend the money it’d take to bring a receiver the caliber of DeAndre Hopkins into the fold. Jones is looking for the bargain and may have found that with Cooks. Giving up late-round picks in 2023 and 2024 is a low-risk, high-reward transaction.

Hopkins has been campaigning for a trade to Big D and even did an impromptu PSA with Dez Bryant expressing his desire to be a Cowboy. Welp, that dream is all but shattered for now. Cooks has been on the trade block for what feels like an eternity, and he’s finally out of Houston. If he’s healthy, Cooks should round one of the best triple threats at receiver in the league. Ceedee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Cooks will give defensive coordinators nightmares.

While Hopkins would’ve given Dallas the most explosive passing attack in the NFL, their overall success will ultimately come down to Dak Prescott producing in the biggest moments. It doesn’t matter who’s lined up outside if Prescott can’t get the job done. So, the Cooks pickup is nice but not quite the bang most fans hoped to see this offseason.

Jerry Jones prepared to penny-pinch his way through free agency — again

We’re sure you can afford some of the top free agents, Jerry...

America’s Team is worth more money than any other team in the NFL. In fact, the Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable team in the world, according to Forbes. Whether you want to believe they are still “America’s Team” or not is irrelevant. The Cowboys are raking in dollar bills hand over fist. So, it’s got to be extremely frustrating for Cowboys fans who know this and are forced to watch the Team sit back every offseason and watch other teams sign players left and right.

No matter the publication, Dallas comes out on top regarding value edging out the Golden State Warriors in the NBA. Yes, it’s two different sports with different salary cap systems, but the Warriors have dominated the past decade, winning four championships in eight years. They’ve done it by building through the draft and free agency. Everyone remembers the heat Kevin Durant received when he signed with Golden State in the summer of 2016.

Who’s the last big free agent the Cowboys signed?

On the other hand, Dallas has been hesitant in going after big-name free agents over the past decade. Anytime there’s a rumor about a potential free agent, the Cowboys are mentioned, but rarely land said player. The Cowboys have been perceived as the leader in the clubhouse to acquire Odell Beckham Jr., and nothing’s happened. Now that OBJ can run and work out, the Cowboys didn’t even send anyone to watch him run routes in Arizona last week.

Last offseason, two fantastic free-agent linebackers showed interest in playing for Jones’ Cowboys. Von Miller and Bobby Miller would’ve both loved to have received an offer from Dallas. While Miller got a huge deal that Jones would’ve never considered, there wasn’t much effort made in the first place. Wagner was much more attainable, and Jones passed on him too.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is a player that could be on the move, and over the past week leading up to the start of free agency, his name has been linked to the Cowboys. Imagine Hopkins and Ceedee Lamb at wideout for Dallas. They’d be the best wide receiver tandem in the league, hands down. There’d be no more excuses for Dak Prescott and that offense. But Jerry won’t do it. He’s afraid of free agency.

Better draft well

That failed signing of Brandon Carr in 2012 has made Jones rethink his strategy for building a title contender. He mainly does it through the draft. That’s fine, but you’ve got to take a shot when a big-time free agent is available. Most of these players would love to play for Jones. Playing for the Cowboys in Dallas still means something to some of these players. But Jones usually waits until it’s too late, and he can pick up name-value guys past their prime.

Cowboys Nation gets excited about everything but free agency. They’ve been conditioned to not expect much because the owner no longer takes any chances. Jerry boasts about his business acumen and how he’s built himself, and this organization then figuratively cries broke when it’s time to sign new players. He even did this with Dak Prescott’s contract situation a couple of years ago. And they’ve already restructured his deal.

Jerry, it’s OK to spend money in free agency. It has to go to somebody. Take a chance or two or three, and you might end up where you want to be. In the Super Bowl or NFC championship game, at the least.