Jerry Jones has the worst case of non-buyer's remorse on record. Nearly four months removed from the NFL Draft, the Cowboys owner is still Wild About Johnny.
In a lengthy story for ESPN The Magazine that appeared on the network's website Thursday, Jones expressed his extreme disappointment for being talked out of selecting quarterback Johnny Manziel instead of guard Zack Martin. Jerry's already gone on the record with how close he came to selecting Manziel, but in an interview that occurred two weeks after the draft, Jones was even more direct.
"If we had picked Manziel, he'd guarantee our relevance for 10 years," Jones said while attending the owners meetings in Atlanta. "When we were on the clock, I said, if we pick the other guy — any other guy — it would be a ticket to parity, more 8-8 seasons. The only way to break out is to gamble — take a chance with that first pick, if you wanna dramatically improve your team. That's why I wanted Manziel, but I was the only guy who wanted him. I listened to everybody . . . and I'm . . . not . . . happy . . ."
The story also mentions a phone conversation Jones had with Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson that could possibly get him in hot water with the league. But that phone conversation happened while Jones was partying during a George Strait concert, and doesn't seem to amount to much.
The bigger story to me is that Jones is having such a difficult time getting over not drafting Manziel. Maybe Manziel's shaky preseason has settled things down for now, but it's almost sad to hear Jones pine away for the "relevance" that Manziel would've brought to the Cowboys. The Cowboys would seem to be the most relevant 8-8 team of all-time, what with all their appearances in prime time.
Jones told ESPN what he whispered to son Stephen after the Cowboys selected Martin: "There's only one thing I wanna say — I'd have never bought the Cowboys had I made the kinda decision that I just made right now," Jones told Stephen. "You need to drive across the water rather than lay up. And we laid up for this one. ... We just didn't get here makin' this kind of decision."
This certainly dispels the notion that Jerry acts alone in the draft room. He succumbed to peer pressure, which might be a healthy sign for the organization. But I think part of this is an act. In case Manziel becomes a huge star in this league, Jones wants it on the record that he recognized his greatness.
He can't stand the thought of being the man who passed on Johnny Football. It goes against his wild-catting nature. This way, he can be known as the guy who had to be talked into not taking Manziel.
I don't think he's quite as upset as he's letting on. He just hates the thought of taking the safe approach. If folks are still going to think of him as a maverick, he can't keep selecting centers and guards in the first round.