INDIANAPOLIS – Jerry Jones always attracts a crowd. And it's usually because he has interesting things to say.
Thursday was absolutely no exception to either rule, as the Cowboys owner and GM spoke to local Dallas/Fort Worth reporters on his bus at the scouting combine in Indy. And as always, he didn't disappoint with his comments, delivering a few eyebrow-raising quotes, ranging from his thoughts on the proposed CBA, free agents such as Dak and Byron Jones, to the future of Jason Witten and Sean Lee, the Ring of Honor decisions and of course, Dez Bryant's possible return.
- Jerry started his hour-long media session by discussing the new CBA proposal, although it hasn't been voted on by the players. He pointed out that some aspects of the deal are good for the NFL, but not exactly ideal for the Cowboys. "This is not something that is all, in any way, positive for the Dallas Cowboys. But as I mentioned earlier, the positives outweigh the negatives." One of those aspects is that a new CBA would prevent the Cowboys from using both the franchise and transition tags this year.
- Jerry was clear about one thing: deadlines aren't going to rush a deal, especially with Dak Prescott. If the CBA doesn't have a new deal when free agency starts, he will get tagged. "One of the great things about Dak is his commitment building a team. I don't have an issue there. That's just the reality of the thing. I am not in any way going to not have his rights, for one minute."
- He went as far to compare Prescott to his own son, in regards to getting a deal done. "The same as I feel about Stephen. There's no going forward without Stephen or one of your family members so you got to get it figure out."
- Not to be overshadowed by other free agents, Robert Quinn is on the radar. Jerry called him "one of the top people" he's ever been associated with and called him "the real deal." He also acknowledged how much Quinn helped the defense, leading the team in sacks with 11.5 and is hopeful they can get a deal done.
- Byron Jones is believed to be on the way out because the Cowboys just can't pay all their top free agents. But Jones isn't ready to go there just yet. "Yeah, that's not a given. That's not a given. But it certainly pretty plain to see that, when you have the players we have right now under contract, plus we have arguably three of the top free agents there are out there and we have the prospects of this Collective Bargaining Agreement, that we've got some work to do. That's a real challenge."
- While it might be something Cowboys fans are asking for, it doesn't sound like Jerry is in a hurry to put Jimmy Johnson into the Ring of Honor, at least not in 2020. But he did sound as if the former Cowboys coach will be headed there at some point. Jones acknowledged that it might be unusual that Johnson is going to the Hall of Fame before the Ring, he pointed out Tom Landry went to the HOF first. "Here we've got the two greatest coaches in history of the Cowboys. So they can go in the same order.
- Jerry said he still thinks Jason Witten can play. And doesn't want him to play for another team. But when asked what the holdup of a return would be, Jones said it has to fit for Witten. "I feel strongly he wants to play and I think he can play. I would hope that he would not ever be anything but a Cowboy. I'd say Jason feels like the holdup is one way or another Jason being comfortable with the fit. Jason being comfortable with the fit (his role)."
- While he hasn't talked to Dez lately, it doesn't sound like he needs to. Jerry claims he knows Dez "better than anybody." And more importantly, he's been pondering the possibility of bringing Dez back. "I have been thinking about it a lot in the shower. I have been. I am not dismissing it. I don't want to sound like it should be dismissed by saying that. I am thinking about it."
- The Cowboys are at the combine for several reasons, but scouting players is always a big one. Jones was asked about the team needs and reiterated what McCarthy has said often, that he's more worried about getting the best players than getting the ones that fit. " In the draft, (we want) the best player that's sitting there, the very best player — one thing that Mike has basically emphasized with everybody is: 'I can change what I'm doing to the skills of the player if he's a player.' So he says 'Get me the good player, and I'll put him to work in what he does best.'"
- With the Rams opening their new stadium this season in Los Angeles, and the Raiders doing the same in Las Vegas, Jerry said he would hope the Cowboys are included the grand openings. "I'm very excited. I was excited to play that first preseason game against the Rams there in the Coliseum. And if possible I'd like to be their first game, both teams, first game, which is not impossible, I guess." The Cowboys play the Rams in the regular season and could kick off the season in LA, and could also play the Raiders in the preseason in Las Vegas.