OXNARD, Calif. – To hear it from Stephen Jones, the sound and the fury surrounding these contract talks gets a bit overblown.
As it stands right now, there's not much movement in getting a new deal for any of the trio of Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper or Ezekiel Elliott. But as the Cowboys' chief operating officer well knows, that can change in a hurry.
"It's misconstrued, the time that goes into these things," Jones said on Friday. "When you decide you're going to do them, it happens quickly, and when nothing is going on, nothing is going on. And nothing is going on."
That's the situation as the Cowboys prepare to start training camp, with their first practice starting on Saturday afternoon. Deals don't appear to be imminent for any of the three Pro Bowlers – to the point that it has prompted Elliott to refrain from reporting to camp.
But with three weeks of training camp in California and a full six weeks until the start of the regular season, that's plenty of time to come to an agreement.
"It's kind of like D-Law," Jones said. "We sat there forever, and then all of a sudden we had a good little visit with DeMarcus and things happened quickly – like, inside of 24 hours we were basically home."
As Jones and other Cowboys officials have been sure to point out, this isn't uncharted territory for anyone. Contract negotiations are a routine part of NFL life, and the Cowboys have made a habit of getting their deals done during training camp.
Typically, those deals have been singular. Tyron Smith re-signed in the summer of 2014, while Travis Frederick followed in 2016 and Zack Martin's new deal came in 2018.
This time around, the goal just might be to do three in one summer. With $24 million in cap space, Jones said that's completely plausible.
"We're in great shape for this year, where we sit. I don't know that it's strategically better to do any one of the three," he said. "The only thing everybody wants to point to is that Zeke has this year and an option year left, and the other two are out after this year. If you want to call that a pecking order, then fine. But we've also made it real clear we'd like to sign Zeke long-term."
Zeke isn't the only one. Jones acknowledged during Friday's press conference that he thinks the front office can reach an agreement with Cooper, "for sure," and he said his goal with Prescott is to an agree on a deal that will make both sides happy.
It's a bad idea to read too much into those comments, but in listening to Cowboys officials, these sound like deals that will get done – not deals that might get done.
Now, the timeline is harder to say. The situation seems murky right now, while both Jerry and Stephen Jones said they won't be commenting further on contract talks any time soon. It's a good bet these conversations will last long into training camp.
At the outset, though, this Cowboys front office sounds confident it can accomplish its objective.
"Our goal has been all along, in addition to DeMarcus Lawrence, was to work the three contracts we have been talking about," Jones said. "So this shouldn't be any surprise. With one not being here, we didn't necessarily expect it. But we will move forward and work on it. Optimistic we can make all this come together. It usually works out. We will see if that is the case this year."