ORLANDO, Fla. – Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones met with the media for a half-hour Tuesday at the NFL Annual Meeting and discussed several topics. Among them:
- Jones said newly-signed Cameron Fleming is “very capable” of playing right tackle next season if the Cowboys choose to move La’el Collins back to guard. That decision has not been made. The team plans to let competition dictate the best five linemen who will start. But Jones said the Cowboys signed the 25-year-old Fleming because “he really gave us the (position) flex we really wanted to have.” Fleming has 20 career starts at tackle and guard, including the AFC Championship Game and Super Bowl LII for New England at right tackle last season.
- While Jones is pleased with the team’s added depth on the line – the team also signed four-year veteran interior lineman Marcus Martin and re-signed center/guard Joe Looney – he acknowledged that Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith’s health is critical. Smith has dealt with back issues at times in his career, and last season he missed three games and most of a fourth with knee and groin injuries. “I think we've got every reason to think that he's going to be healthy enough to endure through a campaign and have a better injury situation than he did last year,” Jones said. “Nothing indicates that what last year is, is what this year is going to be.”
- Jones declined to speculate whether the Cowboys might be able to sign Pro Bowl defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence to a long-term deal before the July 16 league deadline, but he said the team has “long-term aspirations” with regard to keeping Lawrence in Dallas. Earlier this month, Lawrence signed his one-year franchise tender worth a guaranteed $17.1 million.
- Jones echoed Stephen Jones’ Monday comments that the Cowboys have accomplished most of their goals in free agency, but they’ll remain opportunistic. “We need some players,” Jerry Jones said. “I would just as soon get them in the draft and get them in college free agency. But I do see free agency as have your pencil sharp and your ears to the wall and if an opportunity comes along, take it.”