Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has his own plan to turn around the economic fortunes of the National Football League.
Sources within the NFL claim that Jones met with Commissioner Roger Goodell last week to discuss the possibility of purchasing additional NFL draft picks. According to Jones, selling additional first-round draft picks would allow the NFL to redistribute profits while rewarding teams that generate the most revenue.
Jones cited Dallas’ recent postseason failures as the motive for seeking additional draft picks. “There are a number of ways to build a winner,” Jones said, “In the past I preferred signing high-profile players like T.O. or outcasts like Pacman, but team chemistry has become an issue.” Jones told the media that he will still acquire significant talent through free agency, but he wants to shift his offseason focus towards the NFL Draft in the years to come. “You can’t buy a championship,” Jones conceded, “I bought every big name I could, but found out that the only way to guarantee success in this league is through the NFL Draft.”
This change in priorities comes at an inopportune time for Jerry Jones, as the Cowboys traded their only 2009 first-round draft choice to Detroit in a mid-season deal for WR Roy Williams. Dallas now stands at a disadvantage to every team who holds a first-round pick; a disadvantage which Jones is fervently trying to eliminate.
Jerry Jones is one of many NFL owners who support the league selling additional first-round draft picks. In 2004, Jones traded the Cowboys first-round pick to the Buffalo Bills and immediately talked to then-Commissioner Paul Tagliabue about the possibility of purchasing another pick in the 2004 draft. Tagliabue quickly rejected Jones’ request, and for a short while the legality of purchasing NFL Draft picks was resolved. The debate remained dormant until the current economic recession struck the NFL.
In December 2008, the economic recession forced the NFL to lay off approximately 14% of its workforce. Jerry Jones saw this as an opportunity to prove the power of money. Through a series of meetings with NFL officials, Jones lobbied for NFL teams to be able to purchase a variety of individual allowances and exceptions. Under Jones’ plan, payments would go directly to the NFL (money which is much needed in the current economic climate) establishing a rewards system for any team who earns significant profits. While Jones proposed several incentives for successful teams, the key proposition in his plan allows NFL teams to purchase a limited number of additional draft picks each year.
Jones is adamant that incentive-based relations with NFL franchises will spike overall production. “Big-money teams should be allowed to make big-money moves,” Jones contests, “A salary cap is great for competition, but eventually teams with money should be allowed to buy success. It’s only fair.”
Jerry Jones believes that the NFL Draft has more potential for profit than any other NFL operation. Under Jones’ plan, the NFL would make 32 additional first round picks available for varying prices. Each pick would have the letter ‘A’ attached to it to distinguish it from the original selection. The lowest pick for sale (#32-A) would be priced at $5 million, with successive picks increasing by $300,000 per pick (e.g. pick #31-A would cost $5.3 million, pick #30-A would cost $5.6 million, etc.). Jones has not been shy about discussing numbers, as overall his plan could raise over $300 million through the sales of draft picks.
Commissioner Goodell rejected Jones offer to purchase a first-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, asserting that it would erode the integrity of the game. “Fans won’t like the idea of teams buying championships,” Goodell claimed, “This isn’t baseball, there are no Yankees, and I won’t let one team with a lot of money bully the remaining 31.” Goodell told reporters that the additional revenue would be great, but it could cost the NFL a large number of fans. “In the end, that’s all this game is about,” Goodell concluded, “The owners are stuck here. They are financially vested in the success of each team. The fans, however, are not dependent on this league’s financial success, and if we betray their trust then the game could lose more than just money.”
Despite this controversial issue making headlines, Goodell found solace in the fact that the other American major sports are facing economic and moral hardships as well. “Thank God we are playing football,” Goodell joked, “I don’t need the steroid controversies from baseball, I don’t need the anonymity from hockey, and I certainly don’t want to orchestrate individual team bailouts like David Stern is working on in basketball.”
Jerry Jones remains positive about the Cowboys’ future, as well as the future of NFL draft pick sales. “[The Cowboys] will be fine,” Jones said in a recent press release, “We do not have a first-round draft pick this April, but I spoke with my friend Hank Steinbrenner and he assured me that if I keep plugging money into my team, they have to win some time.”
As for the purchase of draft picks, Jones assured his fans that money will eventually trump all other issues. “Commissioner Goodell told me that the integrity of football is more important than a potential $300 million,” Jones said, “But if the economy continues to pressure the NFL, big-money teams like Dallas will eventually have the opportunity to buy additional draft picks. It might be morally gray, but I’ve got a checkbook big enough to talk the world into it.”
Jerry Jones has a series of meetings over the next three weeks with Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. It remains to be seen whether not Jones will press the issue of draft pick sales, but for now there is a calm in the proverbial storm.
Editor’s Note: This is a work of satire. It’s premise, events cited, and quotations are all fictional. It is meant to expose the impersonal and impractical nature of Jerry Jones’ tenure as the Cowboys owner/general manager, as well as provide commentary on the money-driven decision-making process in modern American sports.