Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jerry Jones’ Worst Decision That Never Happened

The Cowboys were on the lookout for a new quarterback in the spring of 2001, having just released the legendary Troy Aikman.  It was unfamiliar territory for a Jerry Jones regime that had walked into Valley Ranch for the first time in 1989 virtually holding to the golden right hand of Aikman.

Now twelve years later, it was time to seek a replacement.  Without a first-round selection to look forward to in the draft, the free-agent wire was the operative avenue to find one.  Trent Dilfer, Elvis Grbac, and Tony Banks were the cream of the available crop.  Or so went the reports.  The Cowboys, so the story goes, had their eye on someone else.  Just who that someone was, is of definite interest.
Ryan Leaf

“In the spring, we did an evaluation of Ryan [Leaf],” Jerry Jones said in September of 2001.  “At that time, we thought he could help our team and have potential for the future.  That hasn’t changed.  He was our top choice in the spring for a veteran to come in, even before we made the Tony Banks decision.” An injury to his throwing wrist prevented the Cowboys from signing Leaf at the time, leading to the acquisition of Banks, an association that didn’t see the end of August.

There are so many ways that history could tell an even harsher tale of that season for the Cowboys had Leaf been healthy that spring.