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Stephen Jones Talks Franchise Tag, Bailey Deal, More
MOBILE, Ala. – The Cowboys may have taken a lesson from last year’s $10.63 million franchise tag of Anthony Spencer, who missed the majority of the season.
Executive vice president Stephen Jones said the cap issues will be similar to last year, but unlike last season he doesn’t anticipate the Cowboys using a franchise tag on a player.
“I don’t think the tag’s going to be in play for us this year,” Jones said. “Obviously, we worked it out where we could with Spencer. I just don’t see it where we need it this year.”
While a third franchise tag obviously won’t happen for Spencer, Jones is still open to bringing Spencer back in some form if the two sides can work out a deal.
“Anthony’s been an unbelievable player for us and it’s very unfortunate what happened to him last year, but very productive,” Jones said. “Obviously a guy we think a lot of. We franchised him last year, and then of course, you know, injuries happen in our game. But he’s the type of player you want on your team. I know we’ve got our fingers crossed and I know he does too that his injury comes along in the proper way.”
The Cowboys find themselves in a situation similar to last year with cap limitations. Jones admitted a tight salary cap puts the team “up against it,” but he believes the Cowboys will manage through it.
Jones said the cap situation will be tight and very similar to last year’s circumstances, but the team will manage through it despite the limitations.
“Any team that has a quarterback that’s a veteran quarterback that’s a top player, any time you’re paying a quarterback that type of money, which you hope you are because that means you’ve got a good one, then it immediately means you’re going to always be tight,” Jones said.
Sticking with the quarterback spot, Jones said the team always has to be open to drafting a player at that spot, even if it’s not in one of the top rounds.
Despite an inability to get active in free agency once again, Jones and the Cowboys are in the midst of working out a deal for one of their own restricted free agents.
Dan Bailey was automatic once again in 2013 as the team’s kicker, missing just two field goals all season for the second straight year, and the Cowboys will do what they can to keep him around.
“Bailey’s restricted so he’s, for all practical purposes, not going anywhere,” Jones said. “But our goal is to get him signed to a long-term deal. We’re actually in pretty serious talks with him, so optimistic about that.”
Jones didn’t have much to offer on other long-term deals in the works. Jones said “those are all things we’ll be working on” when asked specifically about a long-term deal for Dez Bryant, who’s set to be a free agent after the 2014 season.
Cuts & Restructures
Nothing’s been finalized yet regarding pay cuts, cuts and restructures for many of the Cowboys as the team looks for ways to get under the cap.
It’s likely the Cowboys will at least restructure DeMarcus Ware, if not try to get him to take a pay cut, but Jones said the Cowboys are still in the middle of evaluating what they’re going to do.
The Cowboys also need to make a decision on the future of Miles Austin.
“Miles is another one of those guys who’s had a great career with us, but no different than any of our other guys,” Jones said. “We have to evaluate it, what resources he takes up, and make decisions from there. Obviously, we haven’t made final decisions on any of that yet.”