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After Jaylon, How Much Of The Pie Is Left?


FRISCO, Texas – To borrow an extended metaphor from the Jones Family, there's still some pie left over – but it's not going to last forever.

"There is less pie left, make no bones about it," said Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones on Tuesday afternoon.

Such is life around the Dallas Cowboys right now that, before anyone could finish processing the news of Jaylon Smith's five-year, $65 million contract extension, it was on to the next possible signing.

After all, this is still a team that's hoping to reach new deals with three Pro Bowlers. Inking the incredibly talented Smith to a bargain price is a huge coup, but it wasn't the news everyone has been waiting on all summer, as there is still no word on a possible blockbuster extension of any of the trio of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott or Amari Cooper.

As unlooked-for as Smith's extension might have been, chief operating officer Stephen Jones said it doesn't change his outlook on those three big deals, which he still feels optimistic about – to a point.

"They're no different than Jaylon -- they want to be here, they want to be Cowboys," he said. "I still stand by that we want to get them contracts and give them a happy moment like that and it's still good for our team."

That goes back to the pie metaphor. It was almost possible to hear the Joneses speaking directly to Prescott, Cooper and Elliott during Tuesday's press conference. Smith's extension is slated to pay him $12.8 million per year, which is obviously good money, but it doesn't place him at the top of the market for his position.

And that has been the Cowboys' point this entire time. By taking less of the pie for himself, a star player has left some on the table for his teammates.

"I'll go as far as to say the reason there is pie left is because we have kept some left," Jerry Jones said. "That's why there's pie left, and that's why we're going to be where we are. Because we want to have some pie left for others."

That doesn't mean Smith isn't getting his. As the owners of the world's most valuable sports franchise, the Joneses were sure to detail the added value that playing for the Cowboys can bring. Smith himself is well aware of that fact, as he stated his desire to link his personal brand to the Cowboys.

"If we do this thing right, there can be things that are rewarding to families and careers that aren't necessarily manifested in a Collective Bargaining Agreement and a player contract," Jones said. "And you've got to be able to look around some corners and kind of see that to have that happen."

It's all too easy to imagine the sponsorship deals, investment opportunities and boosted visibility that a Cowboys career can bring. Ask Troy Aikman or Emmitt Smith. Ask Tony Romo.

That's the sales pitches, and it worked beautifully for Jaylon Smith. The Cowboys only have so much of the proverbial pie to go around, but there are plenty of other ways they can compensate their players.

As they balance the weight of a talented roster and a finite salary cap, the Cowboys offered a glimpse on Tuesday of how they can make it work. The hope now is that they can find pieces of the pie that work for everyone else.

"What it does is it shows that you can have Jaylon sitting up here smiling big with his mother and happy about his business, and it works for the team, as well," Stephen Jones said. "And I still think we can do that with all the players that we have remaining out there – and it's not just those three."

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