I guess it’s time for my Annual Cowboys Chum Report, and I’ll start right at the top with this direct quote from an Arkansas-connected confidante of Jerry Jones: “Jerry would trade his entire draft for Darren McFadden.’’
I chronicled and labeled this draft-time talent of Messrs. Jones and Johnson some 18 years ago and it remains a prime Cowboys strategy. They say something about a subject – maybe they yell it, maybe they whisper it – and into the public consciousness it seeps. Eventually, though, the Cowboys yell/whisper something contrary. And then they yell/whisper about more stuff. … and more stuff. … and then they contradict that. … and in the end, people only think they know what the Cowboys are thinking.
The latest possible evidence of this ability to throw chum into the water comes courtesy of Jerry’s visits with mainstream-media outlets the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Dallas Morning News. Jerry’s extensive visits with the Star-Telegram’s Randy Galloway came first, and Galloway gets credit for some revelatory work.
In he’s got Jerry making it clear that McFadden, the brilliant Arkansas running back, is NOT worth trading two first-rounders for, and is NOT even worth drafting in the top five picks because it’s too expensive financially to pay a rookie that sort of money.
“Nobody wants in there,’’ Jerry says. “I have no intent of moving into the top five.’’
Conveniently, Jerry then visits with the Morning News. (Once you’ve thrown the Star-Telegram a bone, you gotta throw the Morning News a bone, too, right?) the same thing he’d previously told Randy (can’t leave Goose out there without that bone): “Forget McFadden,’’ Goose writes assuredly.
The part of all this that is certainly true is the part I’ve been saying all along: That Jerry doesn’t want McFadden simply because they’re both Razorbacks. But being certain of much else? I’m not how anybody can pretend to be certain of anything else.
Jerry’s “no’’ on McFadden with Randy was an on-the-record interview.
Jerry’s “no’’ on McFadden with Goose was an on-the-record interview.
Jerry’s “he would trade his entire draft for Darren McFadden’’ position was expressed to me casually, in conversation, by a Jones pal. Does Jones’ pal have special insight? Is our mutual acquaintance so fond of me that he’s guiding me toward the truth? Did Jerry permit this pal to talk because the owner wanted to “throw me a bone’’? Or did Jones plant the pal to tell me this so as to intentionally throw me some chum? Had Jones’ pal and I simply guzzled one too many Jack-and-Cokes when those nine incredible words – “Jerry would trade his entire draft for Darren McFadden’’ – were spilled all over my consciousness?
Assume, for the moment, that the Cowboys remain open-minded as to all options. That they get Pacman Jones cheap, thus erasing first-round need for a cornerback. That they are considering getting that “wow’’ factor by trying to acquire a veteran receiver like Detroit’s Roy Williams, Arizona’s Anquan Boldin or Cincy’s Chad Johnson. That there is obviously a Big Board that lists cornerbacks, running backs and wide receivers who are worthy of being chosen at 22 and 28, but that there is also an understanding that on draft day, the value of picks artificially rises and the value of veteran players temporarily lowers. That there is some precedence for the concept of “trading an entire draft for (fill-in-the-blank running back’’ – but that between Herschel Walker and Ricky Williams, Jones and the Cowboys have plenty of evidence of how that can backfire.
Dallas “trading the entire draft’’ is probably hyperbole. Dallas considering every single possible option is probably reality. Dallas followers who think they truly know what Jerry Jones will do regarding Darren McFadden – what with all this chum bloodying the waters -- is probably fantasy.