INDIANAPOLIS – The Cowboys still have quite a contingent at the scouting combine as of Monday, including vice president Stephen Jones, who is the Cowboys' director of player personnel.
While the coaches and scouts are primarily focused on evaluating hundreds of draft prospects that have rolled through Indy the past few days, Jones has his mind on other topics as well, such as getting his team under the salary cap by March 12. To do that, there are a few dominoes that have to start falling rather quickly.
Jones sat down for a few minutes Monday morning to discuss a few hot topics.
Are you satisfied with where you are currently on the cap and what you've got to do before March 12?
Jones: We've got some restructuring but that's not even the point. The restructures are built in. We don't have to negotiate a restructure. All the deals we're doing are structured in there so it's more just meet the guys, tell them what we're thinking, tell them what we're going to do. Everybody's making a big to do about this. I don't know why.
But didn't you say this year is more of a challenge?
Jones: I said it's tighter, but the only reason I say that is not to get under it. It's just we can't go out and do what we did last year. See what I'm saying.
Do you see your team cutting players we're seeing around the league?
Jones: Mainly restructures is the way we're going to manage it.
Is it safe to say Felix, Jenkins and Ogletree are all gone?
Jones: I never say never on anything but I wouldn't necessarily say it's a high chance they'll be back. But we'll see.
Because you won't be big players in free agency, is it possible to have even greater emphasis on the draft?
Jones: If you don't have a supreme emphasis on the draft every year, you're dead. You're dead. Every now and then you supplement it with free agency. Player acquisitions is 365 days a year. There is a lot of ways to do it. But first and foremost, premium, supreme is the draft. We've had years when we've played free agency and some years when we don't sign anyone because of the cap situation. But obviously last year we went hard. And you can't do that. If you have a salary cap you can't do that every year.
You don't have any regrets about last year though? [embedded_ad]
Jones: We're glad we did it. We got some key pieces. We got Brandon Carr. There are no worries at corner. We got some guards I think will get better in due time. But we got some good players we went out and got. Unfortunately you can't do that every year.
Can you look at Bernadeau at possibly playing center?
Jones: He's very versatile because he can play center. It goes back to what people don't know but he and Livings played hurt all year. They were playing through injuries. They had to miss time, but they'd come back and play. Bernadeau, in spite of being injured, didn't miss anything. Little things he had going on all year long that he fought through. Don't get me wrong, a lot of people in the NFL have to go through injuries.
So have you had any real talks with Spencer or his agent while you've been here in Indy?
Jones: I wouldn't say detailed talks but we've touched based with Jordan (Woy).