Dallas Cowboys

Stephens Jones riffs on ‘active’ negotiations with Prescott, Cooper; trade up in draft?

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones says now is the time to extend QB Dak Prescott

Cowboys Vice President Stephen Jones says it makes sense to extend quarterback Dak Prescott now because "he deserves it," while speaking to media at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019.
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Cowboys Vice President Stephen Jones says it makes sense to extend quarterback Dak Prescott now because "he deserves it," while speaking to media at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019.

Vice president Stephen Jones joined 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday and shared some thoughts on the Cowboys draft plans and gave an update on contract negotiations with quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver Amari Cooper.

In addition to preparing for the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft, which is set for April 25-27, the Cowboys have turned their attention to possible contract extensions for Prescott and Cooper.

With top off-season priority, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, signed to a five-year, $105 million deal last week, the pecking order was surely turning to Prescott and Cooper.

And Jones acknowledged that the team was in active negotiations with both.

“I think pretty much everybody’s on it pretty good that there are some pretty active discussions now with Dak and Amari,” Jones said.

The Cowboys hope to get both done before the start of training camp and them maybe address an extension for running back Ezekiel Elliott.

The big question for Jones was how the recent between quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks impacts the Prescott negotiations.

Wilson signed a four-year, $140 million contract on Tuesday. It included a $65 million signing bonus and $107 million in guaranteed money. His $35 million average salary tops that of Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers ($33.5 million) as the highest in the NFL.

Jones said he is not surprised by how high the market for a quarterback has grown while calling Rodgers and Wilson unique players with special resumes.

He said his goal for Prescott is for him to get paid while also saving money to help build a Super Bowl team around him.

“You’re talking about two guys there who, between [Aaron] Rodgers and Russell Wilson, that have won Super Bowls that have had success year in and year out taking their teams to the playoffs,” Jones said. “Russell, both of them have been to a couple of Super Bowls, or at least I know Russell has been. So, yeah, those guys that are going to make those type of jumps. But I’m not concerned. I think at the end of the day if there’s any position that has to keep an eye out, not only for themselves, but they have to keep an eye out on their team in terms of how much cap space they take up.

“These quarterbacks are those guys because, at the end of the day, they’re going to make a lot of money. The bigger thing for them in terms of their career and what they’re all about is how much did they win, how many Super Bowl rings do they have on their fingers, those are all huge deals. And they know if at some point they take up too much cap space at the end of the day, then it can hurt their chances in terms of winning.”

For Prescott, who has led the Cowboys to two division titles while playing on the salary of a fourth-round pick, the goal is to maximize his value and let Jones and the front office worrying about building the team around him.

To that end, the Cowboys have a done a good job building through the draft and plan to continue to do so.

“I think if we stick to our fundamentals we can,” Jones said. “You want to get better every year. You certainly want to look at ways that you can improve, but I think obviously in this set of circumstances that we have with the cap where it is and the way these roster numbers are constructed, then I would like to hope that we can continue to have success, even though we don’t have a first-round pick, that we’re going to pick some really good football players in this draft that can help us. I do think there’s going to be some good players sitting there when we pick in the second round.

“So, we’ve just got to really do our homework and really look at each and every player that might be available there. It will start to limit up pretty good as the draft comes to us there at the bottom of the second. But we’re convinced and convicted, even though we’re not through with it yet, that there is going to be good players for us.”

The Cowboys head into the upcoming draft without a first-round pick, thanks to the last season’s trade with the Oakland Raiders for Cooper.

The Cowboys are happy with the Cooper and questionable quality of first-round receivers in this draft makes them have no regrets about the decision they made to give up the top pick for him.

The Cowboys first pick is in the second round, 58th overall. Jones said it will be a quiet first day of the draft as the Cowboys were unlikely to trade back into the first round or even trade up significantly in the second round.

“I don’t think so,” said Jones when asked about trading into the first round. “It took an act of Congress to give up a first-round pick (for Cooper). We know how valuable those are. It took a lot of discussion, a lot of homework, a lot of really getting your hands around giving up a first round pick, and certainly, it’s something that you don’t love to do without. We would certainly do the same thing over again in terms of what it did for us with Amari Cooper and what’s it going to do for our future.

“Looking at this draft now even in more depth at what would have been there for the future at receiver we’re certainly glad we made the deal, but I don’t see us making that a habit of putting first-round picks into play. At the same time, I think, and without that, it makes it real hard to think that you’re going to make some huge moves to move that second round pick up significantly.”

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Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a beat writer/columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff wins, six coaches and countless controversies from the demise of the dynasty teams of the 1990s through the rollercoaster years of the Tony Romo era until Jason Garrett’s process Cowboys.