One more big investment

If the Dallas Cowboys win the Super Bowl in the next couple of seasons, there should be no re-enactment of that horribly uncomfortable scene when Jerry Jones and Barry Switzer wrestled over the Lombardi Trophy after Switzer came in and won the big one with Jimmy Johnson's players.

If Dallas gets another title with this year's team, or at least the core of this year's team, Jones gets it first. If he wants to do his best John Elway/Brett Favre/Reggie White impression and take the thing for a victory lap, he should be allowed that moment of spotlight-hogging, too.

Jones has long been one of the league's most aggressive owners, and this year, he has been the most fiscally shrewd in the league, too — and it's not even close. Jones has played the salary cap rules like a string quartet, locking up team pillars Marion Barber, Terence Newman and Terrell Owens to long-term deals. Now he has one more big contract he has to sign.

Chris Canty is one of the most impressive young defensive ends in the NFL, and he's only going to get better. Jones and Canty agreed on a one-year tender this week, a deal most believe is merely a precursor to one of the multi-year megabucks deals being showed on defensive ends these days.

Canty won't score a deal like the one Minnesota gave Jared Allen (six years, and more than $72 million) after acquiring him from Kansas City, but he likely will likely earn at least as much as the six-year, $41 million deal (with $15 million guaranteed up front) the New York Giants gave Osi Umenyiora.

Canty is two years younger than Umenyiora, three inches taller and about 20 pounds heavier. He hasn't posted the gaudy sacks numbers his New York counterpart has, but he also hasn't had the benefit of playing opposite a Hall of Fame-bound defensive end (like Umenyiora has with Michael Strahan) on the other side to ensure one-on-one blocking, either. Canty is a more well-rounded overall player, and many observers feel he is on the fast track to becoming one of the league's elite players at his position.

Jones has proved himself as a wizard in structuring contracts to lock up his key players long-term without crippling the team's financial structure under the salary cap, but locking up Canty for years to come is an absolute must.

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