Jerry Jones is a magnet for criticism, and that’s thanks to his status as the Dallas Cowboys czar (the whole owner-as-GM thing is never a good thing). He’s made more than this fair share of baffling mistakes when it comes to handing out big contracts to players who simply don’t deserve them, and the defense has long been a major issue for the Cowboys. That said, Jones and the Cowboys have actually made a few smart moves this offseason, with the cheap deal given to Henry Melton being one of the hallmark moves. The Cowboys also did well to cut ties with DeMarcus Ware. Even though it’s always difficult to release a talented player who also happens to be the face of your franchise, Ware didn’t play well last year and was making far too much money. The Cowboys couldn’t afford to keep him at that rate, and Jones’s ability to successfully make that bottom-line decision showed some much-needed maturity from him (he usually overpays his guys, as we saw earlier this offseason with the Dan Bailey extension).
Anyway, there was plenty of fanfare surrounding the Cowboys before the first round of the draft started, because there were so many rumors linking the team to Johnny Manziel at 16. Although the Cowboys actually had Blake Bortles ranked ahead of Manziel among quarterbacks, he was rumored to be the top prospect on their board at 16.
Jerry Jones told ESPN that the Cowboys did indeed have Manziel ranked as the highest player on their board by the time they were picking at 16, and his reasoning for passing up on the Texas A&M Aggies QB shows both important maturity in his decision-making and some pretty obvious football explanations. It also seems like a few people didn’t understand that just because a team has someone ranked higher on their board, it doesn’t mean they will pick that player; need and fit change everything.
While Jones stated that Manziel has “got a chance to knock it out of the park”, he wisely stated that it wouldn’t have made sense for the Cowboys to draft him. Not only are they committed to Tony Romo, who is a top ten quarterback in this league and gives the Cowboys a chance (remember the Denver Broncos game?) to make the playoffs despite their putrid defense, but the media frenzy of a Manziel-Romo competition would have been too great and too detrimental to the team.
He said, “There’s just too much dynamic here for him, for the franchise, for everybody. That’s just too much for insurance, and it’s not the usual development guy behind an accomplished quarterback. He’s a celebrity. He’s Elvis Presley.”
Click the link above for some more thoughts on Jones, because he actually does an incredible job of explaining the Cowboys decision to take Zack Martin, who fills a need (unlike Manziel) and is a great player in his own right. Manziel could have an amazing career, but it wouldn’t have made sense for the Cowboys to pass on a legitimate need and draft a possible franchise quarterback when they already have a clear franchise QB. Plus, teams usually take developmental QBs behind an established starter after the first round, as the only time a team does this in the first round is if their established starter will retire or leave soon.