The Cowboys are allowing Ron Leary to shop his services, but without acceptable compensation in return, Stephen Jones said the offensive guard will remain in Dallas.
The executive vice president said the Cowboys aren’t interested in trading any of their running backs, which includes veterans Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris, and they won’t just give away Leary.
Leary, who lost his starting job to La’el Collins last season, requested a trade and has been a no-show at the Cowboys’ offseason program.
“We told Ron that he could certainly look around, but we’re not in the business of letting go of good football players for little or nothing,” Jones said Thursday. “We got calls during the draft asking to trade for a couple of our running backs, and we just don’t have that interest. Ron’s a big part of this football team. I know it’s disappointing when you’ve been starting, and then you’re not starting. We’d hoped that he would look at it as ‘let’s come in here and compete.’
“We did tell him if the right situation presented itself or if it’s a good situation for us, we certainly understand that he’s a competitor and wants to start and go to a place where he has a better chance to start. But we expect him to come in here at some point, and we’re going to welcome him with open arms and hopefully he’s getting in shape wherever he is right now. And hopefully he gets in here sooner than later, because we want him in here. He’ll do a great job for us this year. Then, he’s an unrestricted free agent next year, and we’ll make those types of decisions. But right now, he’s signed with us and we plan on keeping him unless something that’s really attractive to us shows up.”
A day earlier, following the team’s second organized team activity, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett appeared irritated at Leary’s absence.
“Right now, he’s choosing to stay away,” Garrett said. “We don’t think it’s good for him; we don’t think it’s good for our team. But that’s how they’re handling the situation right now.”
Only the Cowboys’ minicamp June 16-18 is mandatory.
Leary started 31 of 32 games at left guard in 2013-14. He opened last season as the starter but lost his job to Collins in the sixth game.
The Cowboys signed free agent Joe Looney to backup the three interior offensive line positions on game day, because of Looney’s experience playing center. That leaves Leary as a likely inactive on most game days, prompting his request to go somewhere he can compete for playing time.
Leary, 27, signed his restricted free agent tender of $2.553 million days before the draft in an attempt to pave the way for a trade. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2017.