Jones has right idea for Cowboys

IRVING, Texas -- In the past, Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones has been known to lie about the team's draft plans when queried.

This isn't one of those times.

Johnny Manziel -- Johnny Football, if you prefer -- might be headed any number of places Thursday during the first round of the NFL draft, but Dallas isn't one of them.

Thank goodness.

You should be thrilled. Ecstatic. Overjoyed. Jerry the GM appears to be acting like, well, a GM.

Perhaps he has ended his obsession with shiny baubles such as Terrell Owens. Maybe he understands smart, safe drafting is the best way to build a sustained winner.

Now, maybe y'all -- you know who you are -- will give up on this ridiculous notion regarding Johnny Football wearing a blue star on the side of his helmet.

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Johnny Manziel doesn't figure to end up in a Dallas Cowboys uniform if owner Jerry Jones is true to his word regarding his team's quarterback situation.

Manziel might wind up being a terrific quarterback, but the Cowboys simply don't need him. Picking Manziel would be the dumbest move the Cowboys could make on draft day, especially since Jerry said Tuesday that quarterback is the strongest position on the team.

Tony Romo's six-year, $108 million extension kicks in this season. Moving Romo in the first three years of this contract would devastate the Cowboys' salary cap, so Romo is going to be your guy for the next few years.

This team has too many holes to draft a player who's going to sit for several years. Besides, Manziel isn't Andrew Luck. We have no idea whether Manziel is going to be a star, a scrub or something in between.

Understand, the Cowboys would love to have Manziel available when it's their turn to pick at 16 because it would open up a plethora of trade possibilities.

Moving down and acquiring more picks from a team all hot and bothered over Manziel would help the franchise considerably more than drafting the former Texas A&M quarterback.

We can't be sure until Thursday, but Jerry sure is saying all the right things.

"We would not, in any way, speculate about any player, but I will go as far to say it is not our primary goal in the first round to be looking at a quarterback," Jerry said when asked if the Cowboys would consider taking Manziel in the first round.

"We've got a good one. That's not a primary need for us. You've gotta think if tremendous talent starts getting near you, then all kinds of options come there and that gives us an opportunity to help our team better than stacking them up at quarterback."

The Cowboys don't feel compelled to add Romo's eventual successor to the roster because they believe the 34-year-old can still play at a high level for several more seasons.

They must. No good alternatives exist.

Romo, who has had back surgery each of the past two offseasons, took part in on-field workouts Tuesday for the first time since his surgery.

The Cowboys say they believe Romo can play into his late 30s because his body hasn't taken the pounding of most quarterbacks his age since he held a clipboard early in his career.

Still, Jerry and Jason Garrett must have some apprehension because the backup quarterback situation is in complete disarray.

Kyle Orton doesn't want to play, and he's not interested in returning a prorated portion of the $5 million signing bonus he received when he signed with the Cowboys.

Orton isn't participating in the offseason program, and you shouldn't expect him to play this season no matter what Garrett and Jerry say.

That means Brandon Weeden, a first-round bust with the Browns, probably will be the Cowboys' backup this season unless Caleb Hanie beats him out for the job.

The Cowboys have drafted five quarterbacks in the 25 years Jerry has owned the team. Quincy Carter (2001) and Stephen McGee (2009) are the only quarterbacks the Cowboys have drafted in the new millennium.

You can stop waiting, complaining and hoping the Cowboys will use a draft pick to add Romo's eventual successor to  the roster. Of the 32 primary starting quarterbacks last season, Romo and New England's Tom Brady were the only starters selected after the third round.

You're fooling yourself if you think you can find Romo's replacement at the back of the draft.

The Cowboys aren't using a premium draft pick on Romo's successor, whether it's Manziel or any other promising prospect, until Romo has told them he's ready to go home and spend his days hanging with Candace and the kids.

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