The hottest topic in the NFL right now is squarely focused on the new age Triplets and the contract extensions they’re seeking from the Dallas Cowboys. Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones have been forthright in their desire to get deals done with Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and Ezekiel Elliott. They’ve also been upfront about their desire to remain disciplined in the cap.
Speaking to The Musers on 96.7 The Ticket in Dallas, Stephen Jones spoke about each of his modern-day Triplets and where they stand with those deals.
On Ezekiel Elliott
With Ezekiel Elliott’s hold out lasting nearly a week and the report coming out yesterday that the two sides are far apart on a deal, it doesn’t appear that a contract extension is coming any time soon. Stephen Jones mentioned yesterday that they aren’t big fans of having to negotiate with their star running back with two years left on his contract.
Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on @dfwticket on Ezekiel Elliott not reporting to camp despite having 2 years remaining on his deal: “Do we like it? Of course not. Do we think there’s a better way to handle things? We do. Are we focused and convicted on getting Zeke a contract?
It’s understandable where the team is coming from on this front as it’s rare for players and a team to seek a deal with two years left of team control. Unfortunately for the Dallas Cowboys, and to an extent, Ezekiel Elliott, the Los Angeles Rams and Todd Gurley set a precedent by signing him to a long-term extension after year three of his rookie contract.
While it’s easy to panic about Elliott’s hold out, don’t forget that there are 38 days until the Dallas Cowboys face the New York Giants in week one of the season. Elliott missing a part of training camp is not as big a deal as we’re all making it. If there’s a player that can miss practice time in the preseason and still be good to go week one, it’s Ezekiel Elliott.
As Jones mentioned, the Cowboys are “convicted” on getting a deal done with their two-time Pro Bowler and when the Cowboys want to get a deal done, they find a way to get a deal done.
On Amari Cooper
The Michael Thomas contract has been the negotiation that everyone has been paying attention to this offseason as it relates to the Dallas Cowboys and Amari Cooper. Well, Thomas signed a five-year extension for $100 million making him the highest-paid non-quarterback offensive player in the history of the NFL.
Does Michael Thomas’ contract raise the target in the Amari Cooper negotiations? Stephen Jones on @dfwticket: “No. I think it’s probably in line with what we were thinking. I’ve got a little better numbers than that. … We’ve drilled down on it and got some good numbers.
Though it’s unlikely that Amari Cooper was going to beat Thomas in his contract extension, the number lands around $17-$18 million a year. After Thomas, Odell Beckham Jr. comes in at $18 million a year. Antonio Brown, now with the Oakland Raiders is at $16.7 million a year, a raise he got after being traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Amari’s not going to get paid more than Antonio Brown because he’s accomplished more than Brown. He’s going to get paid more because he’s next to get paid. The problem is that Stephen Jones isn’t going to be in any hurry to “set the market” on any of these contract extensions.
Cooper seems content to play this year on his current deal and allow his work on the field to factor into the contract that he’ll inevitably get. Like DeMarcus Lawrence last year, Cooper appears ready to bet on himself to have a big season and force the team to reward him for it.
On Not Setting the Market
The Dallas Cowboys have been one of the better teams at managing the salary cap in recent years. That’s coincided with becoming one of the better drafting teams in the NFL as well. Some of what has made them so good in their cap management is that they’ve done a great job at managing risk when it comes to their long-term contract extensions. As it pertains to this version of “The Triplets,” it appears that they are taking a similar, disciplined approach, to getting long-term deals done.
Stephen Jones mentioned Byron Jones, Jaylon Smith and La’el Collins when talking about other Cowboys needing new deals in the near future. “All these are guys that are so important to our football team. I promise you, Zeke, Dak, Amari all understand that.” https://t.co/da1oM6aKz6
Stephen Jones mentioned the fact that, while they want to get contracts done with Amari Cooper, Dak Prescott, and Ezekiel Elliott, he recognizes that they have an excellent group of talented players that will be seeking contracts of their own coming soon.
Byron Jones, Jaylon Smith and possibly La’el Collins and Maliek Collins may all have contracts coming in the next year. Jaylon Smith, in particular, may have a big number coming to him with Bobby Wagner of the Seattle Seahawks getting a new deal that will pay him $18 million a year after C.J. Mosely signed a deal with the New York Jets for an average of $17 million a year.
The Dallas Cowboys front office realizes the real opportunity to keep this team together and be a long-term contender if they manage their money right. That’s why you hear Stephen Jones say, “we don’t want to do things that are out of line because we can’t afford to be that way.”
The Dallas Cowboys can figure out a way to get deals done with their big three and it’s only a matter of time before they do so, but they’re going to try and keep the numbers to figures that they are comfortable with.
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The other aspect of this that we need to remember is that teams and agents will negotiate through the press as well as behind closed doors. By either side taking a hard line in public, they’re attempting to put pressure on the other side to get a deal done. The front office has said that the ball is in the player’s courts and by not signing a new deal, the players are putting the ball back in the Cowboys’ court.
It’s only a matter of time until these contract dominos begin to fall and by the end of training camp, I’d wager at least two of the three New Triplets get the long-term extension that both sides want to get accomplished.