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Stephen Jones discusses Dak, free agency and more in Indy


INDIANAPOLIS — Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones along with several other members of the front office and scouring department are on-site at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, as Jones caught up with the media on Tuesday to update where the organization is on certain topics ahead of free agency.

Here are the highlights from Jones' 25-minute availability to kickoff combine week.

Dak's Extension

While Jones was private about any negotiations with Dak Prescott and his team regarding a contract extension, he was adamant that the franchise "absolutely" wants to extend their starting quarterback.

The Cowboys are currently set to take on a $59.4 million cap hit for Prescott going into the final season of his contract unless they can extend him and spread that money out across future years. If a deal does not get done, he said that there are ways for the franchise to adjust his cap number, but the intention remains to get his deal done.

He wouldn't expand on the timeline for getting the deal done, if those negotiations have even begun, where that number could be in regards to the quarterback market and other details regarding the actual extension.

Extensions with Lamb and Parsons

The sentiment remained the same from Jones in regards to addressing potential extensions this offseason for CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons, but he did echo that he would like to extend those players to no surprise.

He did identify that it is tough for the front office to sign a large group of players to second contracts, but it seems as though it's more of a good problem when looking at Lamb's and Parsons' potential to reset the markets at their respective position groups. The record salary cap bump will also serve as a benefit towards the Cowboys getting those deals done in an efficient manner.

Impending Free Agents

The Cowboys are set to have 16 players hit the free agent market on March 13, and key names such as running back Tony Pollard, cornerback Stephon Gilmore and offensive tackle Tyron Smith stand out as potential bring-backs from the group.

In regards to Pollard, Jones was complimentary of his 2023 season and said that he is "the type of player you want in your organization," but that "we'll just have to see where the business falls."

For Smith, Jones said that no team thinks more of him and his future Hall of Fame status than the Cowboys, and that they plan to sit down with him "to see what it looks like" to keep him in Dallas.

Less was offered on Gilmore, but Jones was once again complimentary for what he brought to the defense in 2023 and that he is a good example of what they like both on and off the field for their team.

Diggs and Overshown Recoveries

The Cowboys are rehabbing four torn ACLs this offseason – cornerback Trevon Diggs, linebacker DeMarvion Overshown, rookie tight end John Stephens Jr., and rookie wide receiver David Durden – and when asked about Diggs' and Overshown's recoveries, Jones sees it as "more realistic" that those two make it back in time for training camp rather than OTAs.

Tyler Smith's Versatility

Jones was asked about if Tyler Smith is cemented at left guard moving forward, and he compared the journey that Smith is on with former perennial All-Pro Larry Allen and the flexibility that he offered the Cowboys when he bounced back-and-forth from guard to tackle.

"That remains to be seen. It's starting to feel like Larry Allen all over again. The great thing about Tyler is his versatility, he could be a great left tackle too. At the end of the day when we're through massaging it, we'll have a good spot for him. His versatility certainly brings options as we look at this team moving forward."

Vander Esch Decision

It seems as though a decision on Leighton Vander Esch's future is coming soon, as Jones chose not to speak on the matter when asked and said that Vander Esch will be addressing it.

"It's an injury issue that he's getting his hands around."

Vander Esch suffered a scary neck injury in the loss to San Francisco last season and is considering an early retirement after being drafted in 2018.

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