The Cowboys had a good season, but it wasn’t good enough, Stephen Jones concedes.
As the Cowboys honored their 1992 Super Bowl team, it provided a reminder of how long ago that was. The Cowboys also won in 1993 and ’95, but they have not even made an NFC Championship Game since.
“It’s been taking some time for us to get back to [the Super Bowl],” said Jones, the team’s executive vice president. “It’s certainly the one thorn in our side right now. We’ve accomplished a lot. Jerry [Jones has] accomplished a lot. Our organization has accomplished a lot. …Whether it’s AT&T Stadium or The Star, what our brand represents, there’s been a lot of great things happen to us. But it is a thorn in our side that we haven’t been back to the Super Bowl – that we haven’t been to championship games to compete to go to a Super Bowl. We have to fix that, and certainly that’s our focus.”
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The Cowboys went an NFC-best 13-3 in the regular season, but they didn’t even make it past the divisional round. They lost to the Green Bay Packers on the final play of regulation.
“It has been an amazing year,” Jones said. “It seems like the football gods have all aligned in support, and of course, Jerry getting in the Hall of Fame was huge. Obviously, Jason [Garrett] and Dak [Prescott] and Zeke [Elliott] and the offensive line being recognized for what they’re all about, they’re a huge, huge part of our team going forward. That’s the exciting thing. It was disappointing we didn’t get there, but at the same, there’s so much excitement about what’s in front of this football team.”
The Cowboys didn’t waste much time getting ready for 2017. They entered the offseason with the worst cap situation in the NFL, but by reworking some contracts, they now have an estimated $1.768 million in cap space.
The salary cap is expected to be around $168 million, and the Cowboys have $2.4 million in rollover money from 2016.
Jones already has landed in Indianapolis for the Scouting Combine, and the coaches and scouts are right behind him. The Cowboys aren’t expected to go after big names in free agency, leaving them to get better through the draft.
The defense needs help after finishing 14th in yards allowed while making only 36 sacks and nine interceptions.
“We’ve got a big job in front of us in the offseason – Jerry, myself, Jason, Will McClay – we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Jones said. “We obviously weren’t good enough this year, and let’s not make excuses. You give Green Bay credit. You give Atlanta credit. And obviously you give New England credit for having the best team in football. But our goal is to get there.
“…We’ve just got to hopefully keep the momentum going. We do have a lot of work to do, and we’re certainly rolling up our sleeves and going to work. We’re dead set on finding some really good football players who certainly fit the type of guy we want to have on our football team and also have the skills to make a difference.”