When the Cowboys called a press conference earlier today to announce the signing of a player, speculation immediately centered on whether it was for Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott or Amari Cooper. It was none of those.
No one had money on Jaylon Smith to become the first to sign a long-term deal during training camp.
“This is a contract story. This is a contract story,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said, via Jon Machota of TheAthletic.com. “Y’all have been riding me about getting a contract done the last three weeks. This is a contract story.”
Prescott, Elliott and Cooper, though, remain unsigned.
The Cowboys held up Smith as an example of how to get a deal done quickly if players are willing to take team-friendly deals. The Cowboys have preached team-friendly deals to Prescott, Elliott and Cooper, which is a sticking point. The players’ agents have made it clear it’s not their job to manage the team’s salary cap.
“I wouldn’t speculate on what’s in somebody’s mind about that,” Jones said of Prescott, Elliott and Cooper. “But the way to get this done is people to have a little more thought about team, and that’s certainly in Jaylon’s mind.
“. . .The team takes precedent at a point over the opinion or the demand of the individual. The team takes precedent [sic]. This was a team move we are talking about today. The team takes precedent, and I’ve got the backbone to keep it that way.”
And now that Jones signed a five-year extension worth $64 million, “There’s less pie left [for others]; make no bones about it.”
The Cowboys don’t sound any closer to getting deals done for Prescott, Elliott or Cooper. Elliott flew back to Cabo after a weekend visit to DFW, continuing his training there. His teammates continue training camp back in Texas, having returned to the team facility this week.
The Cowboys have expressed frustration at the pace of negotiations with Prescott, Elliott and Cooper and noted Tuesday how quickly Smith’s deal happened with both sides wanting to get a deal done.
“Our door is always open for business,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said.