Cowboys: 10 Worst Decisions By Jerry Jones

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Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

No. 5 – Drafting Quincy Carter

Jones’ first wide receiver-trade blunder – more on that coming up – forced the ever-learning NFL executive into one of his most desperate and embarrassing decisions.

With the surprising end of Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman‘s career arriving after the dismal 2000 regular season, one in which the Cowboys would turn in their first of three-straight records of 5-11, Jones needed a quarterback – badly.

With no money to spend in free agency and no first-round selection for the second-straight year in the 2001 NFL Draft, Jones made his worst reach in the draft since the selection of Carver in ’94.

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Quincy Carter had just finished his junior year at University of Georgia and wasn’t even guaranteed to start during his senior year. Carter obviously made the decision to enter the NFL draft.

Many recall the failed baseball careers of aspiring Cowboys quarterbacks like Chad Hutchinson and Drew Henson, both having tried to rescue Dallas from the misery of Carter. Yet, Carter was also a baseball reject that simply fell back on football during his college years.

Jones jockeyed heavily on draft day in 2001 and ended up selecting Carter, a player that probably could have been had as late as the fifth round, with the 53rd selection overall.

The Cowboys were aware that Carter had tested positive for cannabis while at Georgia. Yet, when Jones was looking for the future at the game’s most important position, he went with a player that might not even be available when needed.

Carter lost his starting job to Hutchinson during his second season, but came out of nowhere in leading Dallas to the playoffs in 2003, the first season for head coach Bill Parcells. It’s important to remember that the Cowboys had the NFL’s second-ranked defense that season.

Just when it looked like Carter’s mindset had finally matched his obvious athleticism, the three-year veteran was suddenly cut just prior to the 2004 regular season for failing a drug test – apparently this wasn’t his first.

Parcells was quoted by ESPN and longtime DFW sportswriter Jean-Jacques Taylor with the following regarding Carter’s downward spiral.

"I became pretty close with Quincy personally, and this kid had a lot of good qualities. He was smart. He understood it. But I just couldn’t save his ass. I really couldn’t. You just didn’t have the time. There he is, he got his team in the playoffs, he’s the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, he’s playing good, he’s improving, he can get out of trouble, he’s pretty smart, he can make almost every throw – and it’s just, some people just can’t fight the pressure to succeed."

Carter went on the play two years with the New York Jets and then bounced around the CFL and AFL before finally giving way to numerous arrests and continued substance abuse that destroyed a career that at one time held some promise.

Next: The Original Wide Receiver-Trade Disaster