FRISCO, Texas — Jerry Jones maintains he’s still an ally of beleaguered Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder. Again, the relationship is not what it used to be.
“I would say we had to be more formal in our conversations,” Dallas Cowboys owner Jones told USA TODAY Sports in a December interview. “We’re not as cavalier as we could have been. Follow me? I don’t know who is listening. Who is what? So we had to be more formal.
Snyder has enlisted Bank of America as a facilitator as he plans to sell part or all of his franchise, while an NFL investigation led by former US attorney Mary Jo White, stemming from allegations of sexual harassment of a team employee over ten years ago remains open. Snyder, also previously questioned by the NFL in addition to a congressional panel and other entities, has technically ceded day-to-day control of the franchise to his wife, Tanya, pursuant to an agreement with the NFL.
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Jones, one of the most powerful owners in the NFL, said he had yet to see conclusive evidence that would reach the level of other NFL owners voting to force Snyder to sell his franchise, which would be authorized by the NFL statutes. Still, with Snyder plagued with so many problems — including an inability, at least so far, to secure a new stadium deal — Jones clearly recognizes the momentum for a sale.
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“He’s got the perfect storm,” Jones said. “If he decided to move on, who could blame him? Or her? On top of that, he’s not the most liked guy around, which I guess I could relate to a bit too.
Incidentally, Jones added, “Is it worth me picking up a sword? It’s not Al Davis. For me, it is not.
For decades, Jones spoke enthusiastically of Davis, the late Raiders owner, who was a huge resource to him before and after he bought the Cowboys in 1989.
Although Jones played down an ESPN.com report in October that maintained, citing an unnamed source, that Snyder had told another NFL owner that he “got some dirt on Jerry Jones,” he indicated that his main concern with the future of the Commanders franchise involves a big picture view of the NFL’s long-term financial growth.
In other words, it’s big business, not personal.
“My main thing about Washington is that I don’t want to hurt the ability to attract capital,” Jones said. “With sponsors alone, you want people to line up to be associated with the team. There are a lot of natural things that will happen on their own if you don’t screw it up.
It’s barely lost on Jones as the Denver Broncos sold last year for a record $4.65 billion to a group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton. According to some industry analysts, a sale in Washington could set a new record and raise at least $5 billion.
“One of the strengths of the NFL is that when you’ve had, for whatever reason, a stumbling or tired or compromised owner, we have great capital at our disposal, new owners ready to invest,” Jones said. “So your future investment in the league doesn’t need to have people going into an (expletive) storm every time they step out of their homes as potential owners. This will keep them from coming. We want to encourage people to own the league.