Hall of Fame RB Eric Dickerson says without Zeke Elliott the Cowboys are going nowhere
Make no mistake about it.
While the signing of linebacker Jaylon Smith to a five-year, $64 million contract extension was a good deal for the team and the player, it was also used as a not-so-subtle message from the Dallas Cowboys to quarterback Dak Prescott, receiver Amari Cooper and holdout running back Ezekiel Elliott about being team friendly.
After giving a big chunk of it to Smith, vice president Stephen Jones said there is enough pie left to get deals done with Prescott, Cooper and Elliott before the start of the season.
And he reiterated that they wanted to get all three signed.
As has been the case all along, and certainly with Smith’s deal, which is below what he could have gotten as a free-agent in two years, the Cowboys are open for business on their terms in hopes of giving everyone a chance to have a piece of the pie, according to owner owner Jerry Jones.
“The reason there is pie left is because we have kept some left. That’s why we’re going to be where we are because we’re going to have some pie left for others,” Jerry Jones said.
Asked if Smith’s deal affected the amount of ‘pie’ left to pay Cooper, Prescott and Elliott, Jones said: “There is less pie left. Make no bones about it. There is less pie.”
Now this doesn’t mean the Cowboys plan to lower their offers.
But Jerry Jones was pointed in saying that the players must think about the big picture when it comes to their contracts, as Smith did.
“You have to allocate your resources wisely to keep and have all of those players. That’s called team-building,” Jerry Jones said. “And I will assure you that this was about (the) team. Our goal is to build the best team and it takes cooperation from both parties when you’re doing agreements.”
Jones said he didn’t know if the Smith deal would encourage the others to start making progress on their contract talks.
But he said the deals shouldn’t be taking as long as they have been to negotiate, especially considering they got Smith done in roughly a week from start to finish.
“These things shouldn’t be all day deals,” Jones said. “They should be done a lot quicker than they are. You are getting toyed around with.”
Jones said he believes the Cowboys have a chance to be special and his goal is to keep as many of their quality players in the field. That’s why they have to get the best deals possible with Prescott, Smith and Cooper, he said.
“The team takes precedent over the demand of the individual,” Jones said. “The team takes precedent. This was a team move we are talking about (with Smith). The team takes precedent. I have got the backbone to keep it that way.
“At the end of the day it could really make this group special. Again, I want to reiterate, it is why we are needing to do the best job we’ve ever done of negotiating our contracts and making them so we can do as good as we can about keeping this group together.”
Asked if he hoped the other guys will take team-friendly deals like Smith, Jones said: “I wouldn’t speculate on what is in somebody’s mind. But the way to get this done is for people to have thoughts about the team. That is certainly on Jaylon’s mind, a good example.”