Wednesday, September 11, 1996
Jones says he will not exercise rollover option
in Switzer's contract
By Ed Werder
Dallas Morning News
(Sept. 11, 1996)
IRVING, Texas (KRT) - For the first time since the formation
of their successful partnership, coach Barry Switzer has fewer
than five years remaining on his contract with the Cowboys. Team
owner Jerry Jones disclosed Tuesday he has decided not to exercise
the rollover option he included in the contract.
At the same time, Jones stressed he is completely satisfied with
the performance of his most recent Super Bowl-winning coach and
anticipates Switzer remaining the coach on a long-term basis.
"There is just no need to have longer agreements or extended
obligations unless it is necessary to get the job done,"
Jones said. "But I want to reiterate that apart from doing
the right thing financially for the club, my personal feelings
are that he will coaching the Dallas Cowboys for many years to
"This is not a diminishing of how long I think he will be
with the Cowboys. But if you don't have to do it, then it is
not something you do gratuitously, and we don't have to do it
to have him coach the Dallas Cowboys."
Jones has the discretion at the conclusion of each season to
extend Switzer's contract for another year. The decision not
to activate the rollover clause means Jones has limited the team's
financial commitment to Switzer through the 1999 season rather
than stretching it through 2000.
Switzer said he is not considering retiring and remains convinced
Jones is committed to him remaining the team's coach.
"I trust Jerry," he said. "My contract has nothing
to do with how long I will coach here. The contract only provides
compensation to the coach if the owner, at his discretion, decides
to cancel their arrangement. I'm not concerned about that, because
Jerry and I have a personal agreement."
But Jones' decision seems a marked contrast to his response when
former coach Jimmy Johnson won his first Super Bowl. Jones restructured
Johnson's contract, doubling his salary to $1 million per season,
and provided raises to assistant coaches. But the Cowboys win
under Switzer, and Jones limits his financial obligations.
Jones said four-year contracts for head coaches represent long-term
deals in the NFL. Switzer was hired after Jones fired Johnson
in 1993 following back-to-back Super Bowl titles.
In his two-plus seasons, Switzer has compiled a 29-10 record
with one Super Bowl championship and an NFC Championship Game
appearance. But he has often maintained a contentious relationship
with Troy Aikman, and Switzer's tenure as coach has coincided
with a period during which the team's image has been tarnished
by frequent player scandal, including the drug-suspensions of
Michael Irvin and three teammates.
While Jones insists his decision regarding the rollover option
is not significant, he concedes that he used it in the past to
bolster Switzer's sense of well-being.
In 1993, when Jones and Switzer conducted their first negotiating
session, Switzer wanted a three-year contract. But to make Switzer
more comfortable, Jones devised a five-year contract with a club
option to extend the contract.
"When Barry first joined the Cowboys, it was not his expectation
or request to do anything other than a three-year contract,"
Jones said. "I wanted him to have more of a proprietary
sense about the Cowboys initially because he was just joining
Similarly, Jones said he intentionally used the rollover clause
to support his rookie coach in the week preceding the 1994playoff
opener against Green Bay. In a public-relations move designed
to relieve the pressure on Switzer, Jones announced his decision
to rollover the coach's contract.
But Jones said the Cowboys' success under Switzer has rendered
those kinds of confidence-boosters unnecessary. "It just
is not necessary for any constituency to bolster the confidence
by rolling over the contract, and it would not be good business
for the team," Jones said.
(c) 1996, Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Knight-Ridder/Tribune
All content copyright 1996, KRT, The
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