Thus far, 2009 has been the year of JerryWorld. Nary a Cowboys home game goes by without fans and media alike marveling over Cowboy Stadium’s impossible enormity, gaudy architecture, and numerous cage dancers. But maintaining a facility this like doesn’t exactly come cheap. I’ve heard that the monthly heating bill for the stadium’s luxury suite indoor pools runs a cool $7 billion. The stadium makes tons of money, naturally. But still, it’s got the highest upkeep costs this side of Young Jeezy’s home.
Those costs, along with the massive upfront loans Jones needed to secure to build his luxe new digs, has prompted National Football Post writer Bread Biggs to ask if Jones is cutting costs because of it. The evidence is compelling:
Jones and the Cowboys rank 31st in the league with $93.5 million committed for the 2009 season. The only team below Dallas in the most recent figures? The Kansas City Chiefs at $89 million.
It’s a stark contrast from where Jones is used to being. From 2004 to 2008, a run of five seasons, he spent $566 million, more than any club in the league. In that period, Jones outspent the Glazers in Tampa Bay by $115 million. It’s a huge difference and proof that while the salary cap does a good job of leveling the playing field, every roster isn’t created equal.
That turnaround could be explained by Jerry taking a smarter approach to roster building – through the draft and through lower tier free agency – that also has the added benefit of being cost-efficient. Call it the anti-Redskins approach. Obviously, spending liberally and spending intelligently aren’t the same thing. Then again…
Jones certainly spared no expense in the construction of Dallas Cowboys Stadium, but he’s been finding ways to save money in some areas. For instance, the Cowboys were one of nine franchises that pulled out of an NFL pension plan that covers all team employees. The NFL owners voted to make the 401k and supplemental retirement program no longer mandatory, and Jones promptly jumped out of it.
Now THAT I find rather appalling, given the enormous costs Jones happily sunk into providing Cowboys Stadium with an underground shark tank, nuclear-powered concession stand kegerators, and premium Hungarian escort services. You can’t do all that and then turn around and stiff employees out of a small modicum of post-retirement prosperity.
I think we can all agree that Jerry Jones isn’t exactly going broke. And I doubt that he’ll rein in player spending for very long, should some attractive free agent tickle his fancy in the coming years. But it’s clear he is trying to save money in certain areas, and I’m not exactly wild about consigning his employees to Party Pass status to do so.