FRISCO, Texas – It was a harmless joke, or maybe it wasn't.
Given the events of the past week, it might be smart to believe a member of the Jones Family when they make a comment about contract negotiations.
That's why it raised eyebrows when Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones was asked if he was surprised not to have re-signed Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper before the start of the NFL regular season.
"The season doesn't start until Sunday," Jones said with a smile. "We've still got three or four days here."
To be perfectly blunt, that would still come as a bit of a surprise. After signing La'el Collins and Ezekiel Elliot to massive extensions, to turn around and ink deals with Prescott and Cooper would be quite a feat. It would especially surprising in Cooper's case, as Jones allowed that the two sides haven't talked much, if at all, about an extension recently.
"There hasn't been a lot of negotiations with Amari, period," Jones said. "I'm not free to be able to share why, but I do think at some point we'll start that. I don't know what their parameters will be."
On the other side of the spectrum, it's relatively easy to find parameters for a possible Prescott extension. On Tuesday night, the L.A. Rams signed Jared Goff to a four-year, $134 million contract extension. The deal included an NFL-record $110 million in guarantees.
"Any time a top quarterback gets paid, they all affect what's going on in the market – particularly if it's the same position," Jones said. "You certainly take a look at it and see where it is and what it is and what they do affect."
What exactly Prescott's extension will look like is still a mystery, but it is somewhat surprising that it's not finished. After all, it's been a constant topic of conversation since February.
From the sounds of it, though, it doesn't sound like Sunday serves as any sort of deadline for a deal. Prescott said Thursday that he doesn't want to focus on it during the season, but he has representatives who will.
"I don't want to blur my mind or distract myself any bit with thinking about those talks or thinking about what's going on when I've got enough on my plate to handle," Prescott said. "So I'm going to just focus on the Giants, and I've got people to take care of that."
It's strange to think there's no hard out for the situation. The Cowboys tend to work well under deadlines, whether it was this week's deadline to get Elliott under contract before the start of the season, or the franchise tag deadline deal they did with Dez Bryant back in 2015.
So the talks sound like they'll continue. Perhaps a deal is struck before Sunday, or perhaps it happens during the middle of the season – if not after. As is always the case, it's hard to say when these things will happen until they do.
Despite the fact that he remains unsigned, though, Jones reaffirmed: Prescott's future remains as high a priority as ever.
"I just can't imagine Dak doesn't know what we think of him," Jones said. "We're trying to put the best team around him, we want him to win Super Bowls, he's going to be the quarterback around here for many, many years to come."