The Dallas Cowboys are still on top, financially speaking.
For the 14th consecutive season, Jerry Jones’ club ranks atop Forbes’ annual list of NFL team valuations, becoming the first league club to surpass the $8 billion mark. Incredibly, the Cowboys’ value jumped 23 percent from last year.
But the good news doesn’t stop there for Jerry World. The Cowboys also became the first team ever to generate $1 billion in annual revenue, thanks largely to a slew of new sponsorships, Forbes reports. Dallas grossed $220 million in stadium ads and sponsorship revenue at AT&T Stadium, according to the report — more than twice that of any other club.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones bought the team in 1989 for just $140 million
Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys signs autographs after training camp at River Ridge Fields on August 8
A general view of AT&T Stadium – AKA Jerry World – is seen during the NFC Wild Card game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys on January 16
The valuation comes nearly 40 years after former President Donald Trump – then a real estate tycoon – nearly nought the club for just $50 million. The future Commander in Chief told The New York Times in 1984 that he rather bought the fledgling USFL’s New Jersey Generals for $10 million, thinking it was a better value.
‘I could have bought an NFL team,’ Trump told Ira Berkow. ‘There were three or four available – that still are available, including, of course, the Dallas Cowboys.
‘I could have bought an NFL club for $40 million or $50 million, but it’s established and you would just see it move laterally,’ he added. ‘Not enough to create there.’
At the time, Trump expressed his condolences for the unfortunate investor who would ultimately wind up with the Cowboys.
‘I feel sorry for the poor guy who is going to buy the Dallas Cowboys,’ he said. ‘It’s a no-win situation for him, because if he wins, well, so what, they’ve won through the year, and if he loses, which seems likely because they’re having troubles, he’ll be known to the world as a loser.’
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Donald Trump and New Jersey Generals running back Herschel Walker pictured in 1983
NFL TEAM VALUES
- Dallas Cowboys, $8 billion
- New England Patriots, $6.4 billion
- Los Angeles Rams, $6.2 billion
- New York Giants, $6 billion
- Chicago Bears, $5.8 billion
- Washington Commanders, $5.6 billion
- New York Jets, $5.4 billion
- San Francisco 49ers, $5.2 billion
- Las Vegas Raiders, $5.1 billion
- Philadelphia Eagles, $4.9 billion
The original USFL folded in 1986 following the disastrous move from spring to fall football, at Trump’s urging. The rival league ultimately failed to compete with the NFL.
Jones, meanwhile, purchased the hapless Cowboys in 1989 for a mere $140 million dollars and immediately began the process of returning the franchise to its glory years of the 1970s. The team won three Super Bowls in the 1990s.
Strangely enough, they’ve struggled over the last 14 years, during which time they’ve ranked atop Forbes’ team valuation rankings while winning only a single playoff game.
The New England Patriots followed with a value of $6.4 billion, and the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams reached $6.2 billion.
Curiously, the Rams’ opponent in Super Bowl LVI in February, the Cincinnati Bengals, had the lowest value of the 32 NFL teams at $3 billion. The team has recently finalized a new naming rights deal for the former Paul Brown Stadium, but owner Mike Brown (Paul’s son) is faced with one of the league’s smaller markets.
Overall, the average NFL team is worth $4.47 billion, up 28 percent from the 2021 rankings.
‘The sale of the Denver Broncos for a record $4.65 billion helped push up the value of all NFL teams,’ said Mike Ozanian, assistant managing editor at Forbes in a news release.
Walmart heir Rob Walton and his partnership group completed the purchase of the Broncos earlier this month. While that may seem like an unthinkable amount for a sports franchise, Forbes argues that the Broncos’ price speaks to the NFL’s envious profit margins.
‘Investors have come to realize that the league’s revenue growth (31% over the past five years), salary cap (48% of revenue) and mouth-watering profitability (average operating income of $146 million in 2021) command more respect.’
Despite their on- and off-field struggles, Dan Snyder’s Washington Commanders ranked sixth overall, with a valuation of $5.6 billion
The Dallas Cowboys will be without former All-Pro tackle Tyron Smith until at least December, if they’re lucky. In his steed, they need a replacement.
The internal answer to replace Smith appears to be Connor McGovern, but Jerry Jones doesn’t seem to be inclined to go that route. First-round draft choice Tyler Smith could also receive the first opportunity.
Yet, Pro Football Talk reported that Dallas put a call into Andrew Whitworth, based on his comments during Thursday night’s Amazon broadcast.
“I mean, obviously, there’s been some things with the Cowboys and losing Tyron Smith. It’s just an awful deal. Such a great player, and a guy I’ve always loved watching play. It’s been a busy day of answering calls. The problem is they’re calling and texting the wrong person. They need to be texting and calling Melissa Whitworth and the kids, because they have final approval on whether I’m ever going to play football again,” Whitworth said, per Pro Football Talk.
However, did Whitworth actually say he received a call from the Cowboys? Uh, not so fast.
Keep dreaming, Cowboys fans.
Whitworth is on the wrong side of 40, and at this point it appears his playing days are over with. He ended his career on top, winning a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams.
So, where should Dallas turn next? Jones and the front office have some external options to choose from, per Matt Verderame:
“The options on the market are headlined by Eric Fisher, who has played nine seasons including eight with the Kansas City Chiefs and then 2021 with the Indianapolis Colts, coming off a torn Achilles tendon. Fisher struggled in Indy at times, but he remains a serviceable option.”
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Fisher is the best tackle available, but at that point, why not just rely on Smith? He may be a rookie, but Tyler Smith did draw rave reviews coming out of the scouting combine. In training camp, he’s shown flashes as well.
He may be a rookie, but in this case, he’s next man up.