PHOENIX - The biggest NFL storylines coming out of the NFL Owner's Meetings are not involving the Cowboys this year. And that seems perfectly fine with Stephen Jones, the Cowboys chief operating officer.
But while QB news dominate the news in Baltimore and New York, the Cowboys still have plenty of questions to answer, and that's even after owner/GM Jerry Jones met with the reporters for 15 minutes on Monday afternoon.
Stephen Jones still had plenty of topics thrown his way as well. Here's a few of the highlights from his media session:
- The nature of the aggressive moves the Cowboys have made this season have been surprising to some. Stephen Jones was asked right away why this year has been different. "It's an opportunity. I wouldn't necessarily say we were out, 'hey, we're going to trade for guys rather than sign guys.' It just so happened the guys turned out that way. We just felt value-wise, whether it's compensation in terms of the pick or it's what you ultimately pay a guy, we just felt like the value was there this time in these two situations making a trade. But it wasn't a foregone conclusion that we were just going to be out here looking for trades. We entertain trades quite a bit. We entertained them at the trade deadline last year and didn't make some. Entertained other players in trades and they don't come to fruition. Everything has got to work, including the business, as well as if you're ultimately going to trade for a guy what that compensation is."
- Getting Stephon Gilmore in a trade with the Colts and then Brandin Cooks in a trade with the Texans was not about the Cowboys simply ready to make a deal. Stephen said it came down to needs. "I think it was ways we were able to fill needs, which we always try to do. I know sometimes people think we're more aggressive than others, but you know, we've made it pretty clear we were after a juicy type of receiver if you will. Obviously, looking at that corner position as well in terms of things we felt like we needed to do for our football team."
- Asked about the kicker situation, Stephen Jones made it sound as if the Cowboys would be open to drafting a kicker, something they haven't done since 2009 (David Buehler). "We'll look young in the draft … it'd be nice to start with a young guy that can go out there and be successful and have the right nervous system to be successful and have a guy around here for 3-4 years. That'd be the perfect fit. But there are veteran kickers that come in and do great jobs. Certainly, we're going to try solve it one way or another. Right now, i think it's certainly an itch that needs to be scratched at some point." The Cowboys signed rookie Jonathan Garibay last season after the draft but he was cut in training camp, prompting the team to sign Brett Maher, who had a great regular season, but of course, stumbled mightily in the playoffs, missing five of six extra points.
- Earlier in the day, Jerry Jones said he views Terence Steele as a swing tackle for now. When asked to Stephen, he had a vague answer, stating "I think it's the five-best guys. At the end of the day. Mike's always preached that you know. It's early. We got a new offensive line coach. He gets them out there and gets his hands on em and sees what they can do. we'll figure out what are the best five guys and what makes us the best football team for 17 games plus hopefully the playoffs."
- When asked if the Cowboys need to sign a guard, Stephen was quick to point out, "we've got a guard" referring to newly-signed veteran Chuma Edoga, who has experience playing both tackle and guard. "We feel good about him," Jones added.
- The Cowboys have done plenty in free agency, but addressing defensive tackle is still on the table. Stephen Jones said the team would like to re-sign both Johnathan Hankins and Carlos Watkins. Not an either-or, but both would be preferred. "We take them both back," Jones said. "Absolutely. We had them both on the team last year."