I can't get worked up, really, about Emmitt Smith no longer playing for the Cowboys. I'm used to this by now. In the last ten years I've watched Joe Montana put on a Kansas City Chiefs uniform; Jerry Rice take the field for the Raiders; Bruce Smith and Andre Reed suit up in the fine colors of the Redskins; and Thurman Thomas for -- of all teams -- the Miami Dolphins. This is an unfortunate side-effect of the NFL's salary cap. But the truth is, I think the NFL's current system is the best of any of the four major sports. Yes, it does lead teams to send their stars packing before their time is really up, but I think the NFL's system generally leads to easier rebuilding for moribund teams; it leads to better competitive balance, which is good for fans -- look at this past season, when something like twenty teams were still in playoff contention with only two weeks left. And the NFL has not suffered a labor-related work stoppage in sixteen years.
Should Jerry Jones have offered Smith more money to stay? Possibly. Is the guy who is now anointed as the starter there better than Smith, at this time in Smith's career? Maybe, maybe not -- I don't know. Should Smith have sucked it up and accepted Jones's offer to stay with a single team for his entire career? Maybe, maybe not. The guy's got the right to earn what he can, but he also could have said, "You know, I've made enough that I'm set for life and so are my kids. I'll play cheap for a year or two." I don't fault Smith either way. This is just the way things are now in the NFL.
And besides, the Cowboys stink. If and when they return to prominence and win another Super Bowl, Emmitt Smith will have since retired, anyway.
(And in a Buffalo Bills update, apparently the Bills are willing to consider trade offers for Peerless Price, who is a free agent that the Bills have designated a "franchise player". I'm assuming the Bills would want at least a first-round pick for Price, since last year they traded their first-rounder for this year to get Drew Bledsoe. I want the Bills to keep Price, but if the choice is between keeping Price and getting an impact player for the defense, I'd have to opt for the defensive player.)