Jimmy Johnson wasn't like Jerry Jones, he was more bottom line. Jimmy was more like Belicek. He appreciated his players but he would have handled the salary cap far differently. Jerry used contracts to reward players and I believe he was influenced by the star power. At the time, I think he considered a player's ability to attract fans when he should have focused entirely on a players future contribution to the success of a team. Having been a college recruiter and coach for a championship team, Jimmy Johnson placed no value on sentiment. We are talking about a guy who divorced his wife because he knew he couldn't commit the time to both football and a marriage. Before the 97 season, Jerry Jones signed Emmitt Smith to a huge 7 year contract. Emmitt had been in the league for 7 seasons. He was 28. Two years prior, Jerry signed Deion Sanders to an historic contract. The repercussions of both contracts was the departure of over a dozen players that had contributed to those championships. It gutted the defense, the LB 's in particular. They lost several players that had been in the league only 3 to 4 years and were in their prime, guys like Robert Jones, Dixon Edwards, Russel Maryland, Kevin Williams , Darrin Smith, Kenneth Gant, Godfrey Myles, and Brock Marion. Most of these guys were 1st, 2nd, and 3rd draft choices. Some of them even went on to make Pro Bowls for other teams. It is my opinion, of course, but I believe Jimmy would have let Emmitt walk after the 96 season. He may have then gone to the draft to get someone like Tiki Barber or Corey Dillon. He liked speed so perhaps Barber would have been the pick. From 1992 to 1996, the Cowboys were a top 5 team in preventing opponent scoring. They were a top ten team in turnover margin. In 1997, just two seasons after winning the Super Bowl, the Cowboys had a losing season, 6-10. They still had their superstar players, but little else. The dynasty was dead.