On Wednesday, NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo pointed out a dynamic that the Dallas Cowboys haven’t tried all that hard to hide: Their propensity for cutting out the middleman and dealing directly with players who are represented by agents.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the NFL Players Association views the situation as “not good,” and currently is doing its due diligence before taking any official action and/or issuing any formal statement.
It won’t be hard for the union to piece together evidence. On Wednesday, owner Jerry Jones essentially confessed to 105.3 the Fan in Dallas that the Cowboys like to cut out the middleman whenever and however they can.
“[T]hat’s always been the issue with me and my approach to managing the Cowboys,” Jerry Jones said, via Jon Machota of TheAthletic.com. “When you cut out the people in between the money and the player, we all know that agents, attorneys have their agenda. By the way, they are all taking money out of the pie too when they’re there. The straighter it goes from the source to the one receiving it, nine times out of 10 that’s more efficient.”
Ten times out of 10 that’s better for the team, which would love to be able to run roughshod over players who don’t have agents protecting their interests. And it surely seems as if the Cowboys routinely go straight to the player to get deals done.
Consider this comment from Cowboys COO Stephen Jones at the camp-opening press conference regarding the team’s ability to work out a deal with defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence: “We sat there forever and then all of a sudden, we had a good little visit with DeMarcus and things happened like quickly. Inside of like 24 hours you’re home.”
That’s likely one of the reasons why running back Ezekiel Elliott is holding out. If he’s not in camp, the Joneses can’t put the squeeze on him. And they have no choice but to deal with his agent, Rocky Arceneaux.
Which they’d rather not do. Which is the best evidence of the value of having a good agent. And perhaps conclusive evidence that the Cowboys are taking liberties that the NFLPA will be compelled to challenge.