Stephen Jones Makes Cryptic Statement on Signing Amari Cooper

Amari Cooper injury

Getty Amari Cooper

The Dallas Cowboys took care of DeMarcus Lawrence. They rewarded Jaylon Smith. They locked down La’el Collins. They assuaged Ezekiel Elliott.

So, which Cowboys star is next in line for a massive payday? Beats Stephen Jones.

“Hell, who knows? One could get done before Dak or Amari,” the team’s executive vice president told reporters Thursday.

Dallas has three remaining candidates for long-term extensions: quarterback Dak Prescott, wide receiver Amari Cooper and cornerback Byron Jones — all of whom are unsigned beyond this year. The club has held preliminary talks with each player, but no agreements appear imminent.

A recent report claimed Prescott could land a new deal prior to Sunday’s regular season-opener, and while that’s becoming increasingly unlikely, he’s further ahead of the race than Cooper, whose camp hasn’t regularly touched base with the Cowboys.

“There haven’t been a lot of negotiations with Amari (Cooper), period. And I’m not free to be able to share why,” Jones said, per the Dallas Morning News. “I think at some point we’ll start that. I don’t know what their parameters will be.”

Perhaps it’s because Cooper is allowing the market to reset itself. Atlanta star WR Julio Jones is on the precipice of inking a record-setting contract and, like Elliott, becoming the highest-paid player at his position. This would represent a baseline for Cooper’s next pact.

Acquired by Dallas in 2018, Cooper is set to make $13.924 million — and count the same amount against the club’s salary cap — in the final year of his five-year rookie contract, originally signed with the Oakland Raiders.

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Jones Counters Truth with Optimism

The Cowboys are racing the clock, with kickoff now just three days away, to get the rest of the Big Three locked down for the long haul. Though the tea leaves point to discussions continuing into the regular season, Jones cautioned “don’t ever say never” when handling these matters.

“The season doesn’t start until Sunday. We still got three or four days here,” he said, per ESPN.com. “Obviously we’ve ended up signing a few players we didn’t necessarily know we were going to sign, but at the same time, I certainly felt optimistic that we can get these guys. Whether it’s by the start of the season or if it goes over that, it does. That was our goal. Sometimes you don’t get it quite done on the exact timing that you had hoped, but obviously the ultimate goal is to get them signed.”

If there’s one player to bet on, it’s Prescott, who has to be eyeing the NFL-record $110 million in guarantees that Los Angeles just awarded to franchise QB Jared Goff. The Cowboys are estimated to possess roughly $22 million in available cap room after inking Elliott.


Cooper Practices, On Schedule for Sunday

Cooper practiced in full Thursday for the second consecutive day and is all systems go for the Giants game. Following his quasi-mysterious heel injury that held him out of training camp, the 25-year-old quickly redeveloped his chemistry with Prescott.

“Yeah it definitely picked up where it left off,” Prescott said, via ESPN.com. “Amari’s a great receiver, he’s a guy that gets separation, suddenness is second to none. As I’ve said before, when you’re a receiver like that and you create separation, it makes my job easy so as I told him before, everything that we do in the next couple days he’s got to do it at full speed. We’ve got to be getting game reps right now because of that time. It’s not necessarily let’s make up for time we’ve missed but let’s make sure we’re sharp in everything we’re doing.”


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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL


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