GRAPEVINE, Texas – There's no shortage of discussion about the Cowboys' future at the cornerback position – but what those discussions yield remains to be seen.
As the Cowboys approach the meat of their offseason program, their top two returning cornerbacks are the subject of non-stop conversation in regard to the salary cap.
On one hand, Brandon Carr's massive contract numbers for 2015 are well-documented, and there is still wide speculation that the Cowboys will either ask him to take a pay cut – or release him altogether.
"All of the contracts that we don't have closure on are a priority," said Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones on Wednesday at the team's annual golf outing. "He certainly is a player who is in our top consideration. So yeah, I'd say that's a priority. We want him on the football field."
On the other side of the spectrum is Orlando Scandrick, who, after another season of high-caliber play, has refrained from taking part in offseason workouts in a bid for an improvement to his own contract.
"Hopefully we can get something worked out that can be in the best interest of the Cowboys and also accommodate what he needs to do," Jones said.
These storylines are not exactly new, and they appear to be slow-developing. There appeared to be a break in the case this week, when reports indicated that Scandrick had returned to Dallas to discuss his deal with the front office.
Asked about that visit, though, team officials didn't have many conclusions about Scandrick's contract, or his timetable for a return to Valley Ranch.
"I had a good visit with Orlando. I don't want to share too much about it, but we had a good visit," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. "We didn't talk for real long. We had a real positive visit about our team and hopefully a plan for him going forward."
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones also met with Scandrick this week. He declined to speculate on any contract negotiations, but he did make it quite clear that he thinks the eighth-year veteran should be taking part in team workouts.
"I certainly understand any player in terms of what their thoughts are and respect them," he said. "At the same time, he's under contract to the Dallas Cowboys and should be out there working with us."
Both discussions create an interesting scenario surrounding the Cowboys' secondary. Both Carr and Scandrick are under contract, and both players are accounted for under the club's salary cap. But the business side of the issue is bound to create questions until resolutions are reached.
It also creates a scary reality for the Dallas defense. Carr and Scandrick are bound to have contract negotiations in the coming weeks, while Morris Claiborne is rebounding from a severe knee injury. Those questions leave first-round draft pick Byron Jones, free agency acquisition Corey White and second-year standout Tyler Patmon as the constants at corner.
For his part, Carr reiterated his stance from two weeks ago that he hopes to be with the team in 2015. Despite the talk about his contract status, Carr has been at Valley Ranch for workouts since the offseason program officially started on April 20.
"I'm a Cowboy, I love being a Cowboy," he said. "As long as I'm in this building, I'm going to give it my all. I love playing the game of football."
It all has to reach a conclusion at some point, though it's hard to say when. The oft-discussed June 1 deadline is a big date for Carr. If the Cowboys make him a post-June 1 cut, they can save themselves roughly $8 million and count another $7 million of his contract against next year's cap. They don't have to renegotiate his contract to fit under the salary cap, but it's doubtful they want him counting for $12 million against the cap – which he currently does.
Scandrick's own contract situation may depend on how much, if any, money the Cowboys save in their dealings with Carr. The team's Organized Team Activities begin in less than two weeks, on May 26, and training camp is still more than two months away.
For the time being, the waiting continues.