The Dallas Cowboys painful history of letting good players go

Demarcus Lawrence #90 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Demarcus Lawrence #90 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

As we approach the beginning of the new league year on March 16th, the Dallas Cowboys begin their annual game of bargain bin shopping of free agency. The man known as “Mr. Thrift Store Manager extraordinaire”, Stephen Jones, believes signing a lesser player on the cheap is just as praise worthy as signing an All Pro!

My Gawd! You cannot make this stuff up!

Stephen has already given Cowboys Nation his state of the union address about how signing their own players are a priority, other free agents are not worth signing, and to believe in his system because…well…the more money the Cowboys save the better the odds of them winning the Super Bowl.

Besides being a “bargain bin” shopper, Stephen has influenced father/owner Jerry Jones to move on from good players because of money.

Instead of finding creative ways to retain key players like every other team, the Dallas Cowboys cut good players and pocket the savings

Currently, the Cowboys are rumored to release star wide receiver Amari Cooper and Pro Bowl edge rusher DeMarcus Lawrence at some point.  Both players are the cornerstones on their respective side of the ball, and to some extent, the linchpins for this team’s overall success. Regardless of how you view each player, they’re worth keeping because they make Dallas a formidable opponent.

This wouldn’t be the first time Stephen Jones cuts good-to-great players over money and it certainly won’t be the last time. Although Dallas didn’t cut defensive back Byron Jones, Dallas decided not to offer him a competitive contract despite his recent career season.

Instead of extending Jones, Dallas opted to proactively sign running back Ezekiel Elliott to a six-year $90 million dollar extension before the 2019 season. Yes, Dallas had enough money and flexibility to sign both players, but Stephen didn’t see any value in a corner that literally shut down opposing team’s best receivers the year prior.

Can you imagine how much Dallas will have to pay Trevon Diggs and Micah Parsons in a few years? For a team that believes in re-signing their own players, giving Jones an extension should have been a no brainer.

There are other notable examples that shocked Cowboys Nation to its core and forewarned fans of things to come:

Back in 2014, running back DeMarco Murray set a franchise record with 1,845 rushing yards, rushed for 13 touchdowns, averaged 4.7 yards a carry, and averaged 115.3 yards a game. Also, Murray caught 57 passes for 416 yards and averaged 7.3 yards a reception. I know, good numbers.

At the young age of 26, everyone expected Dallas to extend Murray to long-term contract and give Dallas their new version of the “triplets”- with Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. Stephen, in particular, didn’t believe Murray’s hard work and franchise-setting record warranted a lofty contract. Maybe because Dallas ran Murray into the ground by giving him the ball 392 times that season.

Granted, Dallas offered Murray a four-year $16 million contract extension before start of the 2014 season, but Murray turned it down and showed Dallas what he was worth with his All-Pro season. Still, Dallas felt like he wasn’t worth keeping and the Philadelphia Eagles signed Murray to a five-year, $42 million deal.

had Dallas retained Ware, maybe they beat the Green Bay Packers and the one-legged Aaron Rodgers in the 2014 divisional round of the playoffs.

Then back in March of 2014, Dallas released their greatest edge rusher in franchise history when DeMarcus Ware refused to take a pay cut. Ware’s salary would be over $16 million, and Dallas decided to cut ties and weaken its already lackluster pass rush. But Ware would have the last laugh as he signed a lucrative deal with the Denver Broncos and won a Super Bowl-something he never would have achieved in Dallas.

How do you release Ware and watch him continue to play at a high level and deliver the Broncos a Super Bowl title? Better yet, had Dallas retained Ware, maybe they beat the Green Bay Packers and the one-legged Aaron Rodgers in the 2014 divisional round of the playoffs.

Bryant was released, too, but Bryant’s release had more to do with him not playing up to the expectation of his salary and the overall goals of the team. However, a sit down in “Principal Jerry’s” office would have been more suffice than releasing one of their best receivers in franchise history.

It’s ironic how Dallas released Dez only to trade for his replacement in Coop, but now Coop stands to get the ax like his predecessor. This is truly the epitome of everything coming full circle in Dallas.

Site expert Reid Hanson explains below how Dallas will have no cap casualties in 2022, which further exposes how conservative this front office operates just to save a few dollars. Fellow writer Dan Ruppert discusses how this team contributes to its own downfall when it comes to success.

Read. Good News! The Dallas Cowboys will have no salary cap casualties in '22. light

Next. Dallas Cowboys are their own worst enemy. dark

When you add up those two elements, you clearly understand why this franchise has no problems walking away from elite players and forever underachieving for the last quarter of the century.

As Reid Hanson said, if the Dallas Cowboys releases a player before the season starts, it’s because they want too, not because of money. Specifically Mr. Thrift Store Manager!

  • Published on 03/10/2022 at 13:16 PM
  • Last updated at 03/10/2022 at 13:16 PM