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.

DIY: DeAndre Hopkins creates own trade buzz after hanging with ex-Cowboy Dez Bryant

“I keep hearing y’all say my name around here.”

If you love the behind-the-scenes aspect of the NFL with trades and free agency, you’ll love this. People often wonder how trade rumors get started, and if you’re one of them, DeAndre Hopkins gave a crash course on how to light the match that ignites a rumor. While trade talk about Hopkins has been out there, he was in Dallas with former Cowboys star Dez Bryant recently and claimed he’s been hearing his name in regard to playing in Big D.

“I keep hearing y’all say my name around here. What’s up? Talk to me.”

The crazy part of all this is no one had really heard anything about Hopkins to Dallas until he mentioned it in this video with Bryant. His name hadn’t been boasted much in relation to the star until he put it out there. Of course, the Cowboys would love to acquire the services of Hopkins, and he was drafted by the Texans, so he has ties to the state already. It’s funny to see how quickly a rumor can spread, but we know the source this time.

This type of thing is usually done in the background by an agent or sometimes even a team. Hopkins skipped over the middleman and said let’s get this going ourselves. Social media and self-promotion that’s what it’s all about today. For any other players that want out of their current situation, start your own trade rumor and call out names. In a matter of seconds, D-Hop created buzz where there essentially was none.

Whether Jerry Jones is willing to fork over what it would take to get Hopkins to Dallas is another issue. After trading for All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore, expecting Jones to make an even bigger move in free agency would be asking a lot. Hopkins, Ceedee Lamb, and Michael Gallup would be an amazing trio of wide receivers. Again, this will all come down to Jones. Hopkins needs to slide in his DMs and get the conversation started. Since he’s resorted to taking matters into his own hands.

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. 

Fred VanVleet’s expletive-laden remarks cost him $30,000 and put him in a special group

“I don’t mind, I’ll take a fine. Ben Taylor was fucking terrible tonight.”

Fred VanVleet is now immortal. Hitting nearly every 3-pointer you attempt for two playoff rounds and winning a championship is great. However, only Toronto Raptors’ fans and non-causal NBA watchers remember that. The narrative in the 2019 NBA Finals was Kevin Durant’s injury and Kawhi Leonard playing like a superstar on the national stage.

On Wednesday night, VanVleet carved his own space. He went on a vulgar rant about officiating — specifically Ben Taylor —that resulted in a $30,000 fine. A fine that I would gladly start a Go Fund Me page to raise money to pay for, if I believed in giving money to people who make more than I do.

Instead, I will give him a standing ovation and induct him into the Sports Press Conference Hall of Fame I just made up.

Take a look at some of the other members.

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He had every reason to be upset. His 1-4 Arizona Cardinals were up 20-0 against the undefeated Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. Maybe this is the game that could’ve turned the Cardinals’ season around. Instead, they gave up a three-score lead during a game in which the Bears’ starting quarterback completed 38 percent of his passes and turned the ball over six times.

Green’s team failed him that night. His record against the Bears when he coached the Minnesota Vikings was very good, but that night in 2006 probably made him forget every one of those previous victories.

“The Bears are who we thought they were!” he exclaimed.

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A quarterback’s best friend on the field and potentially his worst enemy in street clothes. After wearing out his welcome in San Francisco and Philadelphia, Jerry Jones brought one of the best players in NFL history to the Dallas Cowboys.

Terrell Owens was great from the start in Dallas, and in 2007 the Cowboys held the top seed in the NFC. They lost at home to the eventual champion New York Giants and Tony Romo caught a lot of grief for going on vacation to Cabo with then-girlfriend Jessica Simpson. While we couldn’t see behind those aviator shades, we did get to see Owens publicly stand up for a QB.

“That’s my quarterback!” Owens said through tears.

I badly want Patrick Mahomes to go to Cabo during a Kansas City Chiefs playoff bye week, and then Romo has to call their divisional game.

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No one has ever consistently sold a fight with his words like Ali. As quick as he was on his feet in the ring, his mind was battle-rapper quick when in front of a microphone. Sonny Liston had just annihilated one of the greatest heavyweights of all time — Floyd Patterson — twice by first-round knockout. Liston was one of the most physically imposing people in the world, but Ali peppered him with verbal jabs to set him up for the real ones during the fight.

At 22 years old, Ali told Liston in front of the world he was so unafraid that he would come to his house looking for him at 2 a.m. Ali was an 8-1 underdog going into this fight, but his youth, the gambling odds, even Liston rubbing something in his eyes was not going to hold him back. 

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This press conference turned out to be the best kind of fight promotion. Verbal sparring is wonderful, but combat sports allow us to indulge in our ugly desire to watch human beings fight each other.

Pro fights are significantly more fun when the combatants have real animosity toward one another, and there was no love between Jones and Cormier. Jones saying that he beat Cormier after doing cocaine for a weekend was hilarious, but nothing tops that brawl prior to UFC 187.

Jones recently won the UFC Heavyweight Championship.

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Chaney was not a happy camper after Temple lost in 1994 to Calipari and his rising Atlantic 10 power, UMass. The Minutemen pulled out this game by a single point. Calipari was talking to the media when Chaney came barging into that press conference.

He accused Calipari of mouthing off to an official, but for the most part, Chaney was just rambling. That rambling turned into locked-in focus real quick when Calipari yelled back at him, “wait a goddamn second.”

At that point in the video is when Chaney screams that legendary lineI’ll kill you.” He may have been 17 years the senior in this matchup, but judging from the footage it is reasonable to believe that Chaney would have put hands around Calipari’s throat if security had been a second slower to react.

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Stan was colder than that Diet Pepsi can he casually sipped while confirming to the media that Howard wanted him fired. I don’t know how Howard only caught five words of that entire press conference, but he made his way over to that circle and had no idea he was about to get jumped. And Van Gundy played along with Howard the entire way with that Herculean arm wrapped around his shoulders to convey friendliness.

“We have to stop Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks.”

Van Gundy told the truth. That game was the Orlando Magic’s immediate concern that day. But my word Howard’s timing was bad and his coach didn’t even give him a look to let him know how just how bad.

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Not every great press conference moment has to be contentious. That’s part of the problem with us human beings. We’re messy. We love nothing more than to observe other people’s complaints and confrontations.

After Wilson’s first professional championship, she was so happy. And not only happy, but the world also found together that when on the adult juice she is what is known as a “happy drunk.” That is not calling her a drunk, but when in that state she is in both a very good and non-destructive mood. If you’ve been on this planet you have met “sloppy drunks,” and “angry drunks.” Both of those can ruin an evening.

Watching her be hilarious and pleasant and go through the stages of high energy, to goofy, to tired all during the same press conference was a joy to watch.

Now back to the mess.

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Winning is the goal of sports. No one plays a sport anywhere with the intent to lose. Even if you are the type of pickup basketball player who is just trying to get in some cardio, you are still going to try to win.

Edwards was asked about how the New York Jets were going to maintain a competitive mindset after beginning the 2002 season 2-5. His full response was much longer and the reporter who asked him the question — Judy Battista — didn’t even use that part of the quote in her story.

But ESPN damn sure used it — repeatedly. From the day before Halloween 2002 until the end of time, Edwards will be most remembered for saying the most obvious thing in sports history, by doing it forcefully.

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This is a moment that doesn’t make retrospectives when we look back at explosive press conference moments. Maybe deep in our hearts we have always known that fat shaming is inappropriate.

Jimmy Johnson didn’t care about your woke political correctness on that day in 1989. He thought that Buddy Ryan’s players were intentionally trying to hurt his players, and with a season that was already in the toilet, Johnson fired away.

“He wouldn’t stand on the field long enough. He put his big fat rear end in the dressing room.”

I guess Johnson wanted to have a couple of words with Ryan after that game but didn’t get the opportunity. Ryan took the comments in stride. He joked with the media that he thought his diet was working. Ryan was much more mellow in this situation than he was with Kevin Gilbride in 1993.

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Should LeBron have thrown his money in our faces after playing some of the worst basketball of his career in the 2011 NBA Finals? He shouldn’t have. But that didn’t make what he said any less true, and any less satisfying for those of us frustrated with the vitriol he received all season for going to the Miami Heat in free agency.

Yes, those people who thunderously booed him in arenas across the NBA got to laugh at his shortcomings. Of course it’s a stain on his career that can never be removed. James will wear it forever no matter how many more championships he wins.

However, after that ugly series ended, he went home to a multimillionaire’s pad in South Florida. Now he is a billionaire with four titles, the NBA’s all-time scoring record, and plays for arguably the most storied franchise — the Lakers.

James was wrong but he was also oh so right, and his critics deserved that.