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Stephen Jones Speaks on Dallas Cowboys Big 3 Contracts

John Williams



Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones

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.

Jon Machota on Twitter

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.

Jon Machota on Twitter

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.

Jon Machota on Twitter

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."

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.

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.


Game Notes

Taco Charlton Isn’t Going Anywhere After Strong Preseason Week 3

Mauricio Rodriguez



Cowboys Need More From Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton 1

Dallas Cowboys Defensive End Taco Charlton might be turning things around. The former first round draft pick didn't have a great couple of seasons to start his career off, which forced him to be in a battle to earn a spot on the Cowboys 53-man roster this offseason. Three weeks into the preseason, it looks like he's a lock to make the team. In a "Dress Rehearsal" game that went great for the Cowboys, Charlton's performance was among the best players.

A couple of weeks ago, I discussed how the Cowboys' younger defensive ends could force the team to move on from Taco. From Dorance Armstrong to Jalen Jelks, there's a handful of promising players that were participating in a positional battle that one way or another, included Taco Charlton.

However, the Michigan product showed up to play versus the Los Angeles Rams with two passes batted down. Despite making such plays, we still hadn't seen much from him in the pass rush department.

Taco Charlton

That changed against the Houston Texans last Saturday when he managed to get two sacks (one strip-sack), two forced fumbles and a recovery. This was undoubtedly Taco's best game in his career. He still has a lot to prove, but it was definitely good to see him have a "breakout" preseason game.

With such performance, it doesn't seem like he'll be going anywhere in 2019. Charlton won't be a starter for this team, but he could become a very important rotational piece for Rod Marinelli's defense. He has a great opportunity to find playing time during the first two weeks of the season before Robert Quinn returns from suspension.

One unfortunate note was that in his best game yet, Taco went out injured twice (ankle). The first time he went back to the field to get some more but had to walk off the field for a second time. Hopefully, he's able to play next Thursday but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't after having a breakout game versus the Texans.

Taco Charlton still has a very long way to justify being a first-round pick, but his play against Houston was a start. It will be very interesting to see how he plays in the 2019 regular season. He'll have to fight for playing time and he'll have to make every snap count to turn his career around.

Tell me what you think about "Taco Charlton Isn’t Going Anywhere After Strong Preseason Week 3" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys’ Taryn Christion Gets Time at QB; More Coming?

Jess Haynie



Taryn Christion

Last night was the first time we've seen Taryn Christion, the Dallas Cowboys' fourth quarterback on the current depth chart, actually playing the position in preseason. Could we see more of Christion at QB in this Thursday's finale, and at what point should Mike White be worried?

Signed just a few days before training camp began, Christion has been tried at running back, receiver, and various special teams units while the Cowboys were in Oxnard. But last week he started getting more time at quarterback, and last night's win over the Houston Texans saw him playing a few drives at QB to close the game out.

Sure, Taryn came in fourth behind White in the rotation. But that Dallas thought to give him reps in that game, the critical dress rehearsal game, is telling.

Jason Garrett doesn't get cute with rotations and playing time. He's old school, and there's meaning in every decision he makes about when and how guys get time in preseason.

Ironically, the decision came following Mike White's best preseason game this year. He went 6-of-9 for 56 yards and a touchdown, plus avoided any sacks or turnovers.

Rather than let White keep building on that, though, Dallas pulled him for Taryn Christion in the 4th quarter. It seemed as if the Cowboys were determined to get him some time at QB.

An even better showcase will come this Thursday night. The Cowboys host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the final preseason game; we know Dak Prescott won't be playing, and the team may even protect Cooper Rush with limited time on the field.

Dallas likely intends to give Christion some significant playing time on Thursday. And to help make that easier, they played him last night to get some of those butterflies out of his system.

No, Taryn Christion probably isn't going to make the 53-man roster. Neither is Mike White, for that matter. It feels like the battle for the number-three QB is more about the practice squad now.

But whatever the case, the battle seems to be heating up. Dallas appears more invested in Christion now as a quarterback than at any other point since he arrived; some added intrigue for Thursday's final preseason game.

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Game Notes

HOU 0, DAL 34: Defense Dominates in Dress Rehearsal Game

Matthew Lenix



HOU 0, DAL 34: Defense Dominates in Dress Rehearsal Game 1

The Dallas Cowboys couldn't have scripted a better result in tonight's dress rehearsal game against the Houston Texans. All three phases of the game made big plays as they dominated 34 to 0.

The night belonged to the defense as they terrorized Houston's starters and reserves along the offensive line with 8 sacks. Taco Charlton, a former first-round pick turned outcast was the star of the night with 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. In my opinion, if there were any doubts about him making the roster he put them to bed tonight.

Kerry Hyder showed once again why he's one of the smartest free-agent signings of 2019. After being a lost man in the 3-4 defensive scheme with his former team the Lions, he's done a really good job applying pressure even though he hadn't recorded any sacks in the first two preseason games. However, tonight he recorded 2 sacks and reminded everyone of the player who had 8 sacks in 2016.

The young guys weren't to be left out in this defensive clinic. Dorance Armstrong, Trysten Hill, Daniel Wise, and Joe Jackson all had half sacks. Rookie Safety Donovan Wilson had one of the plays of the night with a beautiful interception as he tapped both feet before heading out of bounds. Cornerback C.J. Goodwin, who will probably make the roster on his special teams ability, got in on the interception party himself high pointing a contested pass.

Dak Prescott was only 2 for 5 (11 for 14 in the preseason) but managed to escape what looked like a sure sack and roll to his left and threw a rope to Michael Gallup for a touchdown. The two have shown a lot of growth and chemistry during training camp, something that was missing at times in 2018.

Wide Receiver Devin Smith had 6 receptions for 79 yards while Cedrick Wilson snagged 3 passes on 4 targets. Both receivers are fighting for the final roster spots in the receiver group which they'll have to continue to do next week against the Buccaneers.

Tight End Marcus Lucas had a very solid game with 4 catches for 50 yards. He will definitely be a player to watch in the final preseason game before final cuts are made. Cooper Rush went 15 for 25 and further solidified his position as the primary backup to Prescott. Mike White was also solid going 6 for 9 and tossing a touchdown.

Special teams got in on the action themselves when Linebacker Joe Thomas recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown.

Now the Cowboys have only one more preseason game before the 2019 season begins. All that's left now is figuring out the last few roster spots and staying as healthy as possible. September 8th is right around the corner.

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