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Monday, May 25, 2020

NFL exec: Stephen Jones keeping Jerry from ‘f—ing things up’

Jerry Jones

Coming off an incredibly disappointing 4-12 season, no one knows what to expect from the Dallas Cowboys in 2016. At least one NFL executive believes they can contend for a Super Bowl. And for that, he says, you can thanks Stephen Jones.

An anonymous NFL general manager credits Stephen Jones, the son of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, for constructing a playoff-caliber roster. Simply put, the GM says Stephen is keeping his dad from messing up.

“The Cowboys are starting to scare me,” the exec told Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report. “You could always count on Jerry Jones f–king things up. That isn’t happening any longer. That’s a Super Bowl-caliber team now.”

While most people would stop short of labeling the Cowboys the favorites to win the NFC, you’re crazy if you think they’re a four-win team. Injuries to Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and others were simply too much to overcome last season. They have the talent needed to win the NFC East in 2016, and football people see Stephen Jones as the reason for that.

More from Freeman:

The personnel men I’ve spoken to over the past few days believe the Cowboys are neatly positioned to win the division and within a year or two — maybe even this season — make a strong Super Bowl run. All of this seems a bit fast for me, but I’ve continued to hear after the draft how impressed the rest of the league is with the Cowboys and what they’re doing.

The main thing these teams see is a different philosophical bent. They point to the growing influence of Stephen Jones—Jerry’s son and the Cowboys’ chief operating officer, executive vice president and director of player personnel—on the football product.

As the NFC GM told Freeman, Stephen Jones is now seen as an “excellent football mind” rather than a “trust fund baby” who is being handed the keys to one of the most valuable franchises in sports. In this year’s draft, Stephen reportedly talked Jerry out of trading up to draft Paxton Lynch. The Cowboys instead ended up with Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith — one of the best athletes in the draft and a steal if healthy — in the second round and Nebraska defensive tackle Maliek Collins in the third.

We don’t know how Lynch will turn out as a pro, but it seems like the Cowboys got more value by not trading up for him. And let’s not forget that Stephen Jones was the reason Dallas did not make one of the biggest mistakes in team history a few years back. He deserves credit for any success the Cowboys have going forward.

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