Jones was crushed after losing Tony Romo to a broken collarbone in Sunday's win against the Philadelphia Eagles because he believes this team has real Super Bowl aspirations. While he and everybody else have expressed confidence in Brandon Weeden, Jones wanted to make sure the Cowboys did everything they could to shore up the quarterback spot after placing Romo on the injured reserve/designated to return list on Tuesday.
They went through a lot of scenarios, short of calling Brett Favre. According to sources, there was a brief conversation with Kyle Orton even though his tenure with the team ended poorly last year when he failed to show up for the offseason work and was threatened to retire. The Cowboys worked out Matt Flynn, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Josh Johnson and Christian Ponder on Tuesday at their Valley Ranch complex.
As the locker room opened to the media in the afternoon, Flynn and Bethel-Thompson were still in the building as the Cowboys were talking with the Bills about a deal for Cassel. The conversations actually started Monday but it did not look like a deal would be completed.
That changed Tuesday afternoon.
The Cowboys will get Cassel and the Bills' seventh round pick in 2017 for their fifth rounder in 2017. Because of previous trades the Cowboys did not have a fifth-, sixth- or seventh-round pick in 2016 to offer up to Buffalo.
The move also comes with a salary-cap crunch as well. Cassel makes $2 million, which is a lot more than the $660,000 Weeden makes, and can earn another $2.15 million in playing time and playoff incentives.
Any other quarterback would have cost far, far less and possibly not offered as much protection in case Weeden gets hurt or does not play well with Romo missing at least the next seven games.
The Cowboys are likely to call up Kellen Moore from the practice squad to have a quarterback more familiar with the offense -- albeit just two weeks more -- as the backup for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.
But Cassel has played in a similar system under Norv Turner last year with the Minnesota Vikings and should be able pick things up quick enough.
Cassel has thrown for 15,674 yards with 96 touchdowns and 70 interceptions in his career. After his 10-5 record as Tom Brady's replacement in 2008, he has posted a winning record just once. He went 10-5 in 2010 for the Kansas City Chiefs and was named to the Pro Bowl.
It hasn't been as good for him since, but the Cowboys are not asking him to save their season.
In fact, they hope he never has to take a snap with Weeden performing well enough to keep the Cowboys afloat while Romo recovers.
But if Weeden were to get hurt or play ineffectively, Jones wanted to make sure the hopes he has for this season do not go completely by the wayside.
When Bill Parcells coached the Cowboys, he said teams just can't call up 1-800-QUARTERBACK and get a guy ready to play.
That remains true today, but Cassel has shown he can be effective enough to win games.