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How Long Would Jimmy Johnson Have Kept Emmitt Smith?

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by plasticman, Jul 22, 2020.

  1. plasticman

    plasticman Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
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  2. leeblair

    leeblair Well-Known Member

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    If Jimmy hadn't left, everything would have played out differently.
    Emmitt Smith might have gained 20,000 rushing yards.
    Ernie Zampesie would not have destroyed the offensive philosophy and discipline instilled by Johnson, and Smith would have had plenty of room to run. Zampesie's influence is what ruined Jason Garrett's approach to coaching, the reason the offense stopped producing, and why Smith struggled.
    Under Johnson I think Smith would have been around and still productive until 2000, and then retired.
     
  3. daboyzruleperiod

    daboyzruleperiod ♡☆

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    If Johnson was like Belichick as you had stated, he would have never let Emmitt walk being Belichick thrives on talented players.
     
  4. Clove

    Clove Shrinkage

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    I think he keeps him 5 years, but brings another formidable RB in at some point. He was all about winning.
     
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  5. Red Dragon

    Red Dragon Well-Known Member

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    I think Jimmy would have given Emmitt a contract, but a much shorter one. Maybe just a 3-year contract by 1996, then let him retire/walk.
     
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  6. Pompey-Cowboy

    Pompey-Cowboy Well-Known Member

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    He would still have him now, wrapped in bubble wrap and safely stored in his trouser pocket.
     
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  7. TheSkaven

    TheSkaven Last Man Standing Zone Supporter

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    You used the wrong example; your Deion example is better. Emmitt was productive every year that he played, even in Arizona.
     
  8. plasticman

    plasticman Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Emmitt was productive and continued to be productive.

    That's not the point.

    Was his productivity worth the contract he received, the contract he was willing to play for? Was it feasible to expect the same level of productivity during the length of a 3rd contract?

    Between 1991 and 1995 Emmitt Smith averaged over 1600 yards a season and 4.5 yards a carry. He averaged 55 receptions. He was the #1 rusher during that time.

    Between 1997 and 2001 he averaged 1200 a season and 4.1 yards a carry and 24 receptions. He was the #6 leading rusher. The aforementioned Corey Dillon was #5. The latter numbers could have been produced by a RB with a far less impact on the salary cap. Emmitt's 1997 contract, in conjunction with Deion's, resulted in a talent drain that took years to recover from.

    i realize this is blasphemy but looking at his contract in proportion to the seasons that were produced demonstrated that he was human, he was declining and Jimmy Johnson would have recognized this.

    Bill Belicek loves talent....but only at the right price. Jerry Jones had a habit of overpaying his own players out of a sense of loyalty. He knows this today and it clouds his ability to differentiate between doing the same and paying for legitimate potential. It is something that he has never been good at.
     
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  9. Flamma

    Flamma Well-Known Member

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    No one in their right mind gives a 28 year old running back a 7 year contract. If there was an out after 3 or 4 years I don't see the big deal.

    But I agree with the basic premise of the OP. You don't pay a couple of players big money if it's going to dismantle your team. That defeats the purpose. It's similar to being house poor, if people understand that concept
     
  10. John813

    John813 Well-Known Member

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    As long as they were winning and Emmitt played a big role in that.

    He couldn't find a rb to save his life in Miami. Doubt he would of let Emmitt walk without a capable rb behind him
     
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  11. gjkoeppen

    gjkoeppen Well-Known Member

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    First off the Super Bowl teams of the 90's were built prior to the cap. The year the cap started is when the biggest number of players that left the Cowboys before the season Emmitt's last contract was signed. Second from 1996 and the other 6 seasons Emmitt played for the Cowboys he had over a 1000 yards, 4 of them over 1200 yards, in all of them except his last and missed it by 63 yards, And did I mention that from 1996 on he still had 3 season with double digit TD's. I find it very hard to believe that any coach would release a back that was still very productive. Emmitt was never considered a speed back so I guess Johnson never liked Emmitt even for the first 7 years since you say Johnson liked backs with speed.

    I know this is your opinion but I completely disagree with it. What Emmitt did not just for himself but for the Cowboys the day he became the NFL all time leading rusher is immeasurable. It became just another reason that the Cowboys are known as league leaders and America's Team.
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  12. aria

    aria Well-Known Member

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    Very hard to say, in todays league I would think Jimmy would be smart enough to let him walk but back then maybe his performance did justify the contract?
     
  13. MikeB80

    MikeB80 Well-Known Member

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    Emmitt's quality of play only dipped in one year and it was due to minor injuries, a poor team, an exhausted team and a team that hated their coach in 1997.

    There would be zero reason for jimmy not to have kept emmitt.
     
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  14. plasticman

    plasticman Well-Known Member

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    His contract didn't pay him to be a thousand yard rusher . It paid him to be a 1500 yard rusher. Again, his productivity dropped 25% after his 1997 contract.
     
  15. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    I think you are reading this all wrong.

    Jimmy was extremely loyal to his tight circle which included star players.
    I don't think he was different than Jerry here and in fact a lot of what Jerry picked up in this area he got from Jimmy.
    He went to those players with open discussions about what to do to replace Jimmy and win afterwards.

    Jimmy never had to give a crap about a salary cap so it wasn't really his mindset.
    He wanted Jerry to pay the guys the going rate.

    The salary cap is designed so you bottom out after winning 3 titles in 4 years. It did it's job.
    NE has been able to keep atop the salary cap because they have arguably the best coach in NFL history and a HOF QB.
    But their time is coming.
     
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  16. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I think as long as Smith was productive
     
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  17. DandyDon52

    DandyDon52 Well-Known Member

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    I would have to agree to all you say, jimmy would have not resigned smith to that long deal, and probably would not have went after deion.
    letting all those guys go u listed is crazy.
     
  18. Jake

    Jake Curmudgeon

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    Jerry has admitted that early on he made the mistake of rewarding guys for past performance. While nice, it's problematic with a cap.

    You have to pay based on what you expect to get going forward or you'll suffer the consequences.
     
  19. OmerV

    OmerV Well-Known Member

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    I think part of the thing back in those days was the salary cap was brand new, and Jerry didn't really know how to work within it. It's hard to say if Jimmy would have been any better, and, of course, he was not the money manager for the Cowboys. Nevertheless, while Emmitt had something of a drop off in 1996 before he got the big contract, he still had 1204 yards rushing, 12 TDs and added 249 yards and 3 TDs receiving, and the year before that Emmitt had led the NFL in rushing yardage and TD's. I imagine Jimmy would have wanted to sign Emmitt long term as well.

    Looking at the Jerry of today, he has let guys like DeMarcus Ware, Byron Jones, Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray leave because of an unwillingness to pay them despite the contributions they made to the team, and of course, he showed some restraint with Dak by sticking to is guns wanting the 5th year. That doesn't mean every contract he agrees to is a smart one, but it does show some understanding that he can't just sign everyone because he likes them.
     
  20. gjkoeppen

    gjkoeppen Well-Known Member

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    Gee he gained 40% of his total career yardage after 1997 which was less that half of the years he played in the NFL. The only 3 years he really was really productive was his rookie season and the last 2 he spent with the cardinals. His last season with the Cowboys missed 1000 yards by 25 yards but also had the lowest number of carries except for hos rookie season. The Cowboys paid Emmitt to make the defense account for him which they did and to get some yardage. Like I said it's your opinion but I doubt that you'll convince many people that the Cowboys should have released Emmitt in 1996 or 1997. They still had the triplets and so most thought that with a little help and luck they would win more Super Bowls. I'll bet that most would say the chances would have dropped emensly had Emmitt been released. At this point we should just leave it at we disagree.
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