- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Everyone dreams of being as rich as Jerry Jones, or at least having the ability to construct an NFL roster if not pay for one. Barring a lottery win, though, that probably isn’t in the cards for the majority of us. That doesn’t mean one can’t put their salary cap skills to good use, though! With the lull in the football schedule while the players and coaches take vacations before training camp, why not have some fun and learn some Dallas Cowboys history at the same time?
Using the internet-famous $15 rule, you have the opportunity to build the best group of players money can buy. Using our 2019 rankings of the 100 Best Players in Cowboys history — constructed around a propietary formula — as a baseline, we’ve assigned prices to 25 players across five positions. With $15 to spend, how would you construct this five-man attack?
You must pick one player from each position group and their total costs cannot add up to more than $15.
Tell us your combination in the comments!
$5 TIER: QB ROGER STAUBACH
Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports
(1969 – 1979) | Captain America. Staubach earned the top spot for his play on the field, but he means even more to the fan base and organization as a person. His 11-year career brought Dallas its first two Super Bowl victories in 1971 and 1977. His 128 Career AV in 131 total games is the third-best ratio of any Cowboy on the list. Both a passing wizard and a running threat, Staubach checks in with numerous single-season leader merits.
His 83.4 career passer rating includes four seasons leading the NFL. He leads the league four times in Adjusted Net Yards per attempt and manufactured 21 game-winning drives in his 114 starts. Staubach had 22,700 passing yards and 153 touchdown tosses in the regular season, then added another 2,817 yards and 24 scores in 20 playoff contests. He had a career 85-29 record, while going 11-6 in the playoffs. Staubach was added to the Ring of Honor in 1983 and the Hall of Fame in 1985.
$5 TIER: RB EMMITT SMITH
(1990 – 2002) | Smith spent 13 years with Dallas, playing 201 games and setting the league’s all-time rushing record with 17,162; he’d add another 1,193 in two years with the Cardinals. Smith was part of the famed triplets, earning a Rookie of the Year title ahead of his three Super Bowl rings.
In 1993, he was league and Super Bowl MVP, the pinnacle of his career. Smith led the league in rushing yards four times, and touchdowns three times. Smith was an eight-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro. On the strength of his 164 total touchdowns, he’s the club’s all-time leading scorer at 986 points. Smith’s Career AV of 163 is the most for the franchise and he was elected to the Ring of Honor in 2005 and the Hall of Fame in 2010.
$5 TIER: WR1 MICHAEL IRVIN
CHRIS BERNACCHI/AFP/Getty Images
(1988 – 1999) | Irvin holds the club’s all-time catch and receiving yardage marks for wide receivers, second in both categories to Jason Witten. With 750 receptions and a 15.9 yards-per-catch average, he earned his way to five Pro Bowl appearances and one All-Pro nod when he led the league in receiving yards with 1,523 in 1991. He led the league in yards per game twice, in 1991 and again in 1996. The Playmaker was just that, and he knew it, acting as the heartbeat of three Super Bowl champions. He didn’t get to choose how he left the game, but had a 129 Career AV when he did.
$5 TIER: WR2 TERRELL OWENS
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(2006 – 2008) | A lifetime worth of drama in only three seasons, Owens was everything the Cowboys thought they were acquiring and more. Midway through his first season with the club, Dallas switched signal callers to Tony Romo. That was his quarterback and with him Owens led the league in TD catches with 13. The next year, he accrued 1,355 receiving yards and another 15 scores, ending his 46 games in Dallas with 3,587 yards on 235 catches and 38 TDs. Owens’ Career AV of 37 doesn’t compare to what he was early in his career with San Francisco, but he certainly shined while wearing the star.
When considering his entire career, Owens has an argument as a top-five receiver of all-time in the league.
$5 TIER: TE JASON WITTEN
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
(2003 – Current) | Excellence over an extended period of time defines Witten’s career. One of the best complete tight ends who refused to only focus on being a great blocker or an elite pass catcher. Never the quickest, Witten’s skill was precision route-running that led to him holding the team record in career receptions (1,152) and receiving yards (12,448). Witten has four seasons of at least 1,000 yards receiving and another three over 900. He made 11 trips to the Pro Bowl and was an All-Pro in both 2007 and 2010. He also holds the team record for games played (255) and started (245). Witten’s 115 Career AV is good for the 15th-best in franchise history.
$4 TIER: QB TROY AIKMAN
James D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
(1989 – 2000) | Aikman suffered when he first broke into the league, getting decimated behind a porous offensive line and leading a 1-15 team in 1989. Things soon turned around, though, and he ended up a six-time Pro Bowler and three-time champion, including the Super Bowl MVP after 1992. Aikman didn’t have the gaudy regular season stats, but he was clutch when he needed to be and any idea he was only what his stats show is an error of the highest order. He was the steward, not a bus driver, to one of the league’s greatest dynasties.
As The Athletic’s Bob Sturm points out, the issue wasn’t that Cowboys couldn’t pass, it was that they didn’t pass. When they did, though, it was at an elite level and it came through most in the playoffs where every single passing metric impoved against the best the league had to offer. Aikman finished his career with 32,942 yards and 165 touchdown tosses in 165 games. He earned a 122 Career AV.
$4 TIER: RB TONY DORSETT
(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
(1977 – 1987) | Added to the Ring of Honor in 1994 and the Hall of Fame in the same year, Dorsett was a mammoth in the football world in his time in Dallas. A four-time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in 1981, Dorsett totaled 12,036 yards on the ground for Dallas and another 3,432 in receiving. His 85 total scores contributed to a 132 Career AV.
$4 TIER: WR1 BOB HAYES
(1965 – 1974) | Bullet Bob Hayes was a legend for his speed and style. A former track star, he was a first-team All-Pro twice and Pro Bowler three times in his 10 years with the Cowboys. His 71 receiving touchdowns stood as a record for over 40 years until being broken in 2017. Hayes has a Career AV of 95 across 128 games played.
$4 TIER: WR2 DREW PEARSON
[ AP file photo ]
(1973 – 1983) | The original 88, Pearson accumulated a Career AV of 99 over his 156 games. He’ll forever live in NFL lore as the receiving end of the first Hail Mary, and caught 489 passes across his 144 starts. Pearson averaged 16 yards per reception and hauled in 48 career touchdowns while making three Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams. He was finally enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021.
$4 TIER: TE BILLY JOE DUPREE
(1973 – 1983) | Dupree suited up for 159 games in a Cowboys uniform. He would make the Pro Bowl three straight seasons, between 1976 and 1978, helping Dallas to the Super Bowl following the 1977 season. On a team often loaded with premier weapons, DuPree carved a role as an outstanding blocker and dependable pass-catcher first for Roger Staubach and later Danny White. He finished his career with the same team he started with, hauling in 267 passes for 3,565 yards and 41 career receiving touchdowns.
$3 TIER: QB TONY ROMO
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(2004 – 2016) | Romo barely edged out Allen for the first spot in the top 10, but he is certainly deserving of it. An UDFA find, Romo holds every imaginable Cowboys passing record. He has the most yards at 34,183, the most touchdowns at 248, the highest Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt at 7.03 and also broke the club’s records for fourth-quarter comebacks (24) and game-winning drives (29). The only reason he’s not atop the list is because he has a huge playoff hole on his resume. Still, Romo’s career passer rating of 97.1 is one of the best all-time across the NFL. His career was cut short by injury just when he was reaching his prime QB years, but the four-time Pro Bowler still achieved a 116 Career AV in 156 games.
$3 TIER: RB EZEKIEL ELLIOTT
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(2016 – Current) | Elliott dominated the league as the Cowboys’ workhorse after being drafted fourth overall in 2016. He led the league in yards per game his first three seasons, and won two of three rushing titles, only falling short in 2017 when he played just 10 games. Elliott has three Pro Bowls and one All-Pro nod and has over 7,000 rushing yards and 56 rushing scores.
He’s added another 2,200 yards through the air on 288 receptions and as a true student of the game is one of the most stout pass-protecting running backs in recent memory.
$3 TIER: WR1 DEZ BRYANT
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
(2010 – 2017) | Drafted in the first round in 2010, Bryant enjoyed one of the most prolific three-year stretches in club history, totaling 273 receptions for 3,935 yards and 41 touchdowns between 2012 and 2014.
Unfortunately, lower-leg injuries started to rob Bryant of his explosiveness. At his peak, he was the ultimate WR bully, snatching cornerbacks’ souls while being one of the best receivers at grabbing balls out the air and physically dominating in his quest for catch space. Bryant made three Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro in 2014 when he led the NFL in receiving touchdowns with 16. Bryant finished his Dallas career with 531 receptions for 7,459 and holds the franchise record for receiving touchdowns at 73. He holds a Career AV of 73 across 113 games.
$3 TIER: WR2 TONY HILL
(AP Photo/David Breslauer)
(1977 – 1986) | Hill has the fifth-most yards from scrimmage in team history with 8,072. The wideout made three Pro Bowls in his career, two in his first two seasons as a starter in 1978 and 1979, and then another in 1985. In 1979, he was part of the first trio in NFL history, with Drew Pearson and Tony Dorsett, to have two 1,000-yard receivers with a 1,000-yard rusher. Hill had three seasons of at least 1,000 yards receiving and scored 51 touchdowns, all through the air. His efforts earned him a Career AV of 82 across 141 games and 112 starts.
$3 TIER: TE JAY NOVACEK
Paul Gero/The Arizona Republic-USA TODAY Sports
(1990 – 1995) | Novacek was part of the first class of free agency, a Plan B import from the Phoenix Cardinals. Once in Dallas, he made five straight Pro Bowls during an epic run of three Super Bowl teams in four years. He was one of Troy Aikman’s favorite security blankets.
$2 TIER: QB DON MEREDITH
(AP Photo/Toby Massey)
(1960 – 1968) | Dandy Don was the original star Cowboys quarterback from the franchise’s inception. The second member of the Ring of Honor (1976), Meredith made the Pro Bowl in his final three years in Dallas. He led the league in yards per completion in both 1965 and 1966 and went 47-32-4 as a starter, earning a Career AV of 83 in just 104 games played.
$2 TIER: RB CALVIN HILL
Dick Raphael-USA TODAY Sports
(1969 – 1974) | Hill spent his first six seasons with the Cowboys, earning an All-Pro nod right out the gate as a rookie in 1969. He had two 1,000-yard seasons, back to back in 1972 and 1973, his second and third of four Pro Bowl campaigns. He rushed for 5,009 yards with Dallas and 39 scores, while also catching 139 passes for 1,359 yards and another six touchdowns. Hill’s 64 Career AV across 73 games in Dallas ranks as one of the better ratios in franchise history.
$2 TIER: WR1 FRANK CLARKE
Nov 26, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; A view of a Dallas Cowboys helmet before the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Carolina Panthers on Thanksgiving at AT&T Stadium. The Panthers defeat the Cowboys 33-14. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
(1960 – 1967) | A founding member of the organization, Clarke was the club’s first deep threat, leading the league in receiving average in 1961 at 22.4 yards a catch. Clarke was the first player with 1,000 yards in a season in 1962, and he made All-Pro in 1964. H led the club in yards and touchdowns for four straight years and catches for the last two of them in 1963 and 1964. Accruing 5,214 yards and 51 receiving scores in 140 games, Clarke had a Career AV of 58 in 104 contests.
$2 TIER: WR LANCE RENTZEL
(1967 – 1970) | Rentzel was a big-play machine in his four years with the Cowboys. He led the league in yards per catch and touchdown receptions in 1969, with 22.3 and 12, respectively. Over his 53 games with a star on his helmet, he totaled 3,521 yards and 31 receiving touchdowns for a 43 Career AV.
$2 TIER: TE DOUG COSBIE
MPS-USA TODAY Sports
(1979 – 1988) | Cosbie became a full-time starter in 1982 and enjoyed three Pro Bowl season across his 10-year career, consecutively from 1983 through 1985. He tallied 300 career receptions for 3,728 yards (12.4 career yardage average) and 30 career touchdown catches, securing a 36 Career AV.
$1 TIER: QB DAK PRESCOTT
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
(2016 – Current) | Even if fans and media don’t recognize how great a start to a career Prescott has had, his AV does. He averages 0.91 AV for every game, third behind Deion Sanders and Roger Staubach.
The 2016 Rookie of the Year made two Pro Bowls in his first three seasons. He’s turnover averse, with an interception percentage of 1.7. Prescott is a dual-threat QB, with 26 rushing touchdowns to go along with his 143 air scores. Prescott checks in with a 98.7 passer rating on his way to 22,083 passing yards. He already has 10 fourth-quarter comebacks and 17 game-winning drives, earning a Career AV of 77 in just 85 games.
A tough decision in going Prescott over Danny White, but the TD:INT ratio seals the deal. Here’s their statistical comparison from White’s best four seasons vs Prescott’s last four seasons.
$1 TIER: RB DON PERKINS
Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
(1961 – 1968) | Perkins didn’t have home-run speed, but was in the league’s top 10 in rushing each of his eight seasons in the league, all with Dallas. He was the first Cowboys player to ever be named an All-Pro, earning the distinction in 1962, one of his six Pro Bowl seasons. Perkins had exactly 1,500 rushing attempts, 6,217 yards and 42 of his career 45 touchdowns come on the ground. He was a devastating blocker, as well, earning a Career AV of 67 across 107 games. Perkins was added to the Ring of Honor in 1976.
$1 TIER: WR1 MILES AUSTIN
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(2006 – 2013) | Another UDFA, Austin was everything to the Cowboys’ passing offense they thought Roy Williams was going to be. The trajectory Austin was on through two Pro Bowl campaigns in 2009 and 2010 was only stunted when hamstring injuries robbed him of his effectiveness. With over 300 career receptions with Dallas, Austin averaged 14.9 yards per catch with the Cowboys.
$1 TIER: WR2 AMARI COOPER
Amari Cooper vs Eagles
(2018 – 2021) | One of the best route-runners of his era, Cooper had three-straight 1,000-yard campaigns from 2018 through 2020. Two of his four career Pro Bowl appearances occurred in his brief time in Dallas after being acquired from Oakland. 292 of his 517 receptions and 3,893 of his 7,076 career yards (and counting) came with a star on his helmet, as did 31 of his 58 Career AV.
$1 TIER: TE DALTON SCHULTZ
(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
(2018 – 2021) | OK, the cupboard is admittedly bare at the position for Schultz to be included, but the passing era the NFL finds itself in lends to some allowances. The competition here is Mike Ditka, who was well past his prime by the time he suited up for Dallas, or Pettis Norman, who never caught more than 341yards in any of his nine seasons with Dallas.
Schultz’s last two seasons make up the bulk of his statistical resume, catching 141 targets for 1423 yards and 12 scores. They make up 12 of his 13 Career AV, which is the sixth-most in the organization’s history surprisingly.