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DeMarcus Ware, 2014 Free Agency Blunders Prove Jerry Jones Should Be Out of a Job

If this offseason doesn’t move Jerry Jones to relieve himself of general manager duties with the Dallas Cowboys, the team could be forever doomed.

Jerry Jones
Jerry Jones

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Former players, coaches, and NFL analysts alike have been campaigning for Jerry Jones to be relieved of his general manager duties with the Dallas Cowboys. If the current offseason doesn’t do the trick then the organization might as well consider itself permanently doomed.

Arguably the franchise’s best defensive player, DeMarcus Ware, will now have a chance to rush the passer on an AFC Super Bowl contender in Denver. And the team’s best defensive lineman in a year ago, Jason Hatcher, has decided to change NFC East allegiances and will face the Cowboys twice per season as a member of the rival Washington Redskins.

So what is Jones’ mindset throughout this whole process?

Ware played through injury last season, so of course his production was inevitably going to decline. His contract was bloated, but he’s been a Pro Bowl linebacker every year he’s donned a Cowboys uniform, so you have to cut him some slack that he wasn’t as effective playing through a nerve issue in his right elbow. Talk about being a prisoner of the moment, Jones felt he was doing the organization a favor by relieving the team of some salary cap space by cutting ties with Ware, but then he opted not to sign a replacement for him.

It should have been a sign that this decision was the wrong one when Ware’s suitors were waiting on Line 1 to contact him the second he was informed of his release.

Hatcher led all defensive tackles with 11 sacks in 2013, enjoying a career year at age 31 in his first opportunity to be a starter. Hatcher earned Pro Bowl honors last season and was named the eighth-best at his position, according to Pro Football Focus. Unlike Ware, Hatcher was not afraid to stay within the division, and now Jones’ decision not to match Washington’s offer can certainly come back to haunt him.

So here’s what the Cowboys did do this offseason thus far. Defensive end Jeremy Mincey was signed to replace the soon-to-be departed Anthony Spencer. Mincey had 17 tackles and two sacks in 10 games with the Broncos and Jaguars last season. Terrell McClain signed on as a potential replacement for Hatcher. A former third-round pick by Carolina, McClain has already suited up for three teams, and last year he totaled eight tackles in 16 games with the Texans.

In other words, Pro Bowlers Ware and Hatcher: gone. Journeymen Mincey and McClain: welcome to “Big D”.

Unless Jones has a master plan that nobody is aware of — which is obviously unrealistic since he loves to regularly discuss the team with the media — he is allowing the normally .500 Cowboys to take an enormous leap backwards. With top-caliber players like Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Tyon Smith, the Cowboys have a chance to put together a cast of role players to get the team over that “average” mark.

Instead, the team releases Miles Austin and doesn’t find another wide receiver. The team allows its top two defensive players to walk, and unless Jones actually believes the journeymen are the solutions, will aim to use the NFL Draft to find other Pro Bowl players. And the team’s second-most glaring need — its secondary — has not been addressed whatsoever.

The Cowboys have whiffed on free agency, so are we counting on Jones to figure it all out in the draft? That seems unlikely, especially considering all of the team’s needs — corner, safety, linebacker, defensive line, and wide receiver. There’s only seven rounds, and even that might not help the team plug in all of its holes.

So what else will it take before Jones relieves himself of general manager duties? Probably nothing, because in his mind he’s making all of the right moves. NFL analysts are probably laughing at Dallas’ offseason — I imagine John Elway is, now he has a pass-rush tandem of Ware and Von Miller. As is Jay Gruden, who just robbed his NFC East rival of their best defensive tackle without a fight.

Dallas spent more time figuring out who will be the team’s offensive coordinator versus its play-caller than it has trying to figure out who will start for them come Week 1. With Jones running the show, the Cowboys will always be considered a media circus more than a Super Bowl contender. And this offseason should be a wake-up call as to Jones’ incompetence as a general manager. Unfortunately, the owner will never realize that.

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