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Jerry Jones dusts off argument for 18-game regular season

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones believes adding two more regular season games to the NFL's schedule would unlock another $1 billion for the players.

Last year, the Commissioner suggested on at least three occasions that the preseason could be shortened. This year, he hasn’t mentioned it.

His in-house quasi-nemesis has.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has dusted off the argument for shifting the 16-and-four season structure to 18-and-two, with a preseason cut in half and the regular season expanded.

I was a big advocate in the last negotiation,” Jones said after Sunday’s preseason snooze fest against the Cardinals, via Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News. “I made the presentation. You can see how I did.’’

Jones actually believes that a longer regular season and a shorter training camp/preseason would result in fewer, not more, concussions.

“I can make the case that we have an uptick in concussions in the preseason,” Jones said. “If you look at it, I would contend there would be less exposure.”

There also would be more money. A lot more money.

“It would provide more than $1 billion to the players,” Jones said. “It’s certainly worth considering. It would direct more value for what the players expend to the players.”

With legalized gambling now beginning to spread, the league will eventually and inevitably make much more money during each week of the regular season, and two more weeks of the regular season will result in even more money for everyone.

At 53 players per roster, the league has 1,696 players. An extra billion dollars for those 1,696 players works out to, on average, another $589,622 per player per year. For 32 teams, it translates to another $31.25 million per owner per year.

The real question becomes whether that would be enough to get the players to agree to reduce the preseason from four to two and to increase the regular season from 16 to 18, knowing how much more the owners would make on the backs of their enhanced physical sacrifices and risks. But with fewer and fewer starters playing in the preseason, they’d be swapping two games in which they likely wouldn’t play at all for two plays in which they’d play the full game.

So the players still may not want it. Or, if they decide they’ll take it, they may want more than a 50-50 share of the extra cash.

Regardless, at a time when the NFL doesn’t say much about expanding the regular season (because it’s impossible to reconcile more games with supposed sensitivity to health and safety), Jones is willing to admit what many have suspected even as the NFL otherwise avoids admitting that it covets two more weekends of games that count.