Amari Cooper

Dak Prescott Extension Talks Hit Impasse; Latest On Amari Cooper

The pendulum in the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott negotiations continues to swing. A week after we heard that an extension for Prescott was “imminent,” negotiations have again reached a bit of an impasse, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

RapSheet suggests that the length of the deal may be the holdup. It seems that the Cowboys want to give Prescott an extension of at least five years, just as they have with their recent significant signees. But Prescott’s direct market comps, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, just inked four-year extensions with their respective clubs, and Prescott is likely eyeing a shorter-term deal so that he can cash in a second time a year sooner.

Prescott has previously indicated that he is not worried about playing while negotiations are ongoing, and his Week 1 performance only boosted his value. Rapoport said, “[i]t doesn’t seem like things will happen for the foreseeable future. Obviously that could change but that is the read right now.”

As for wide receiver Amari Cooper, we last heard that he and the Cowboys may be in something of a stalemate. Cooper’s patient approach has allowed him to watch the wide receiver market continue to soar, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com writes that the 2015 first-rounder will continue to be patient. He is eligible for free agency in March, and while he would like to remain in Dallas, Schefter says there is no guarantee he re-ups before testing the open market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys, Amari Cooper In Stalemate?

The Cowboys, at long last, got a deal done with Ezekiel Elliott. Meanwhile, there hasn’t been much progress for star teammate Amari Cooper

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

Cooper, to date, has been saying and doing all of the right things. The wide receiver says that he wants to stay in Dallas and is also willing to play out the 2019 season in an effort to (re-) prove that he is worthy of a top-dollar deal.

Meanwhile, after getting the greenlight to play in Week 1, Cooper could be primed for a monster season. Cooper is willing to wait, and the Cowboys should have plenty of incentive to jumpstart talks.

For now, both sides are playing the waiting game. It might not be an ideal situation, but it’s far preferable to the one that Cooper’s former club finds itself in with his replacement, Antonio Brown.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys

We learned earlier this week that the Cowboys had extended a lucrative contract extension to Ezekiel Elliott, but it still doesn’t sound like either side is making much progress on talks. Clarence Hill Jr. of the Star-Telegram tweets that there’s been no new movement on the extension front. Hill passes along a brief quote from Director of Player Personnel Stephen Jones, who said the two sides aren’t close because there hasn’t been a lot of “activity.”

Elliott has reportedly been eyeing a contract that would be worth around $15MM per season. The Cowboys reportedly offered a contract that would have made the 24-year-old one of the two highest-paid running backs in the NFL. For reference, Todd Gurley is leading running backs with an average annual value of around $14.38MM, and Le’Veon Bell is currently at second with a $13.13MM AAV.

For what it’s worth, the running back retweeted a comment from former NFL lineman Joe Thomas, who indicated that Elliott should top Gurley’s deal:

“Throughout the course of NFL history, if you are the best player at your position (or clearly one of the best) when you re-sign a second contract with the team that drafted you, you usually beat the highest paid current contract at your position by 15 to 20%,” Thomas said.

Owner Jerry Jones recently made comments that the team is going to hold firm on their offer, which means there might be a significant monetary discrepancy if Elliott is indeed seeking $15MM per year.

While it doesn’t sound like Zeke’s holdout will be ending anytime soon, Jones apparently isn’t concerned. During an appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, the executive sounded optimistic about the prospect of signing their star running back (as well as wideout Amari Cooper).

“We feel confident things will get done,” said Jones (via Twitter). “Things happen real quick, sometime within hours.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Cowboys, Compton, Fales

When announcing the new extension for linebacker Jaylon Smith at a press conference today, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sent a clear message to a few other high-profile players who are eligible for extensions. Jones said, via Jon Machota of The Athletic, “[t]he team takes precedent at a point over the opinion or the demand of the individual. The team takes precedent. This was a team move we are talking about today. The team takes precedent. And I’ve got the backbone to keep it that way” (Twitter link).

Obviously, that statement suggests that Jones is going to hold firm on the offers that have been extended to Ezekiel ElliottDak Prescott, and Amari Cooper, and as we detailed earlier today, Smith’s extension looks relatively team-friendly. Jones did say that there is “enough pie left” to get deals done with all of them, though he did not have an update on negotiations with the trio.

Let’s check out more from the NFC:

  • Free agent linebacker Will Compton will work out for the Saints, as John Keim of ESPN.com tweets. Compton, who played for the Redskins from 2013-17, was a full-time starter as recently as 2016. However, his 2017 campaign was marred by injury, and he played only 79 defensive snaps for the Titans last year in his first and only season in Tennessee. He would provide experienced LB depth in New Orleans, and he could also contribute on special teams.
  • Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press examines the Lions‘ backup QB situation, noting that presumptive QB2 Tom Savage missed his seventh straight practice on Tuesday (Savage is in the concussion protocol). That has meant more reps for David Fales and Josh Johnson, but Birkett says the Lions are unlikely to carry three QBs. So if Savage cannot be medically cleared by next Saturday, he could be cut. Fales looked sharp in the team’s last preseason game while Johnson struggled, so Fales may have a leg up if Savage can’t get healthy.
  • The 49ers fear that rookie wide receiver Shawn Poindexter suffered a torn ACL in Monday’s preseason win, as Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. Poindexter, a UDFA from Arizona, appeared to be a prime practice squad candidate, and the club has already signed WR/KR Chris Thompson to take Poindexter’s place on the 90-man roster.

No Deadline For Cowboys Extension Targets

Multiple months into the Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper negotiations, and two-plus weeks into Ezekiel Elliott‘s holdout, not much of note has transpired. Jerry Jones said these deals are unlikely to be completed until the team returns from their camp home (Oxnard, Calif.) to Dallas, and the owner offered another timetable Tuesday night.

Jones acknowledged neither the team nor its high-profile extension candidates have created a Week 1 deadline to cut off negotiations (Twitter link via ESPN’s Ed Werder). Jones added one of Dallas’ re-up prospects could sign before the big three. Byron Jones and La’el Collins join Prescott and Cooper as contract-year players, with Jaylon Smith set for 2020 restricted free agency.

Elliott and Jones have not spoken during this holdout, the owner acknowledged (via Werder, on Twitter), adding fuel to the fire of the two-time rushing champion missing regular-season games. A report indicated Elliot will not play into the regular season on his current contract, which runs through 2020.

I’m not (concerned) in any way,” Jones said, via Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). “But I certainly know that we’re in a situation where it could be Week 1, of course; it could be Week 2. It could go into the season; that’s the facts. If it doesn’t, it’s probably no harm.”

While executive VP Stephen Jones has mentioned Byron Jones, Collins and Smith, Jerry Jones acknowledged what appears to be a loosely defined hierarchy among the Cowboys’ priorities here. The owner cited DeMarcus Ware‘s 2014 release, which led to two more Pro Bowl seasons in Denver, as an example of previous cap mismanagement allowing a star to depart — one he does not want to repeat amid this contract conundrum.

I’ve got to realize that I could let a DeMarcus Ware out of here because I don’t have enough money, because I paid it to too many others,” Jones said, via The Athletic’s Jon Machota (on Twitter). “That happened to me. I don’t want that to happen again. And we’ve got some top talent here.”

More variables exist in the Cowboys’ current negotiation matrix, but no resolutions are in sight for the defending NFC East champions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Rumors: Cowboys, Thomas, Vikes, Rams

Robert Quinn‘s initial Cowboys preseason slate will be nullified because of an injury he suffered at practice Tuesday. The trade acquisition will undergo surgery in Dallas after breaking his left hand, Todd Archer of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). Quinn’s fracture, however, may not shelve him for any regular-season time. Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones expects the ninth-year defensive end to be ready by the time the Cowboys face the Giants in Week 1. So, the Cowboys’ August lineup graphics will not feature either of the team’s projected D-end starters, with DeMarcus Lawrence also out for the preseason slate.

Moving first (perhaps predictably) to the Cowboys’ glut of extension candidates, here is the latest from around the NFC:

  • Jones said earlier today the Cowboys are offering deals that would, at the moment, make Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper among the five highest-paid players at their respective positions. That represents a low bar for Elliott, but Jones revealed one Cowboys stance: that Le’Veon Bell‘s Jets deal slightly lowered the running back market compared to where it was when Todd Gurley signed his lucrative pact. As for the status of Dallas’ deals, Jones does not expect them to be done during the team’s training camp stay in Oxnard, Calif. “To set all expectations, I’d be floored if anything got done before we got (back) to Dallas, with any of the three,” Jones said, via Jon Machota of The Athletic (on Twitter). “I’m not concerned. I don’t feel any momentum. I don’t see anything happening.” The Cowboys will be in Oxnard until August 15.
  • Solomon Thomas has not lived up to his lofty draft status thus far, but the 49ers will try and capitalize on the former No. 2 overall pick’s interior-rushing talent. With Dee Ford and Nick Bosa now on the edge, Thomas has been rotating with defensive tackles DeForest Buckner at Arik Armstead, Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. Thomas saw the majority of his 644 49ers snaps last season on the edge. The Stanford product has just four sacks in two seasons.
  • Going into their preseason slate, the Vikings have leaned toward Sean Mannion being Kirk Cousins‘ primary backup. That is not surprising, given Mannion’s status as the Rams’ QB2 recently. Mannion and 2017 UDFA Kyle Sloter were rotating No. 2 reps recently, but Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press points out Sloter is now rotating with rookie UDFA Jake Browning with Minnesota’s third-team offense. Both backups are playing for league-minimum money.
  • Rams rookie linebacker Justin Lawler underwent foot surgery Tuesday, Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com tweets. The Rams drafted Lawler in the seventh round out of SMU. He profiles as a full-season IR candidate. Teams must carry players through to the 53-man roster for them to be eligible for IR-return status during the season.

Cowboys Notes: Elliott, Jones, Prescott, Cooper

There was a report earlier today that Ezekiel Elliott wasn’t going to play in 2019 unless he got a new contract. That’s apparently news to the Cowboys, as multiple sources told Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News that the team has “not been informed that Zeke Elliott will sit out the season if he doesnt get a new contract” (Twitter link). This doesn’t necessarily mean that Elliott doesn’t hold this stance, just that he hasn’t told Cowboys brass of his plans if that’s the case.

Unfortunately for Cowboys fans, things seem to be heading in the wrong direction between the two sides. We also heard earlier today that Dallas was growing frustrated with the status of talks with their trio of stars seeking new contracts. Elliott is in a complicated situation, because unlike Le’Veon Bell he won’t be able to sit out the season and become a free agent in the offseason. As such, his threats to sit out don’t seem quite as serious as Bell’s did and probably won’t give him too much leverage.

Here’s the latest on Dallas’ negotiations:

  • Cowboys exec Stephen Jones made comments that are sure to raise plenty of eyebrows earlier today during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan. Jones had said back in February that Elliott’s deal was likely to start at what Todd Gurley got, but he’s apparently changed his mind now that he’s seen how Bell’s free agency played out. When asked if he regretted making the comments about Gurley, Jones said “no, I still think that’s within the realm. At the same time, I think the market re-set with Le’Veon (Bell’s contract). I think you see what happens with Gurley and you get a great player like Le’Veon, who’s every bit as well thought of as Gurley and he had unfettered free agency. He had 32 teams with no draft picks attached, and the market was $13.5 million … less than Gurley’s ($14.375 million average). At the end of the day, business changes, and we pay attention to that.” That’s a very revealing statement, and indicates the Cowboys might feel emboldened by the fact that Bell didn’t get as much as a lot of people thought he would. Jerry’s son also added that he didn’t “want to get into what we’ve offered but we’ve been very generous with our offer.” The Jones’ clearly plan on playing hardball with their young running back.
  • If you’re looking for some slightly more positive news, fortunately we have some courtesy of Albert Breer of SI.com (Twitter link). Breer writes “there’s a decent shot” that the Cowboys are able to get deals done with both Dak Prescott and Elliott before Week 1. He also notes that Amari Cooper talks “have been slower moving.” As for the terms, Breer suggests that in this scenario Prescott would eclipse $30MM annually, with Elliott “maybe nudging past” Gurley. Of course, Jones’ statement came after these thoughts from Breer, and it now seems he’s prepared to dig in his heels at something less than what Gurley got.

Cowboys Frustrated With Prescott, Cooper, Elliott Talks

The Cowboys are growing frustrated with the lack of progress in negotiations with Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, and Amari Cooper, Todd Archer of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears. The team believes solid offers have been made that would put each player in the top five at their respective positions, yet the needle has not moved much. 

In the case of Elliott, the Cowboys are pitching him a contract that would be closer to Le’Veon Bell‘s than Todd Gurley, Calvin Watkins of The Athletic (on Twitter) reports. That deal would make Elliott second-highest paid running back in NFL. It seems that Zeke is either gunning for No. 1, or for a more favorable payout/guarantee structure than Gurley earned. Gurley got $45MM guaranteed in his deal, whereas Bell is looking at $39.5MM in potential earnings over the first three seasons.

On Sunday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expressed confidence in the process for all three players. The team, at least behind the scenes, is now singing a different tune.

You just know like so many things it’ll happen. It’ll happen,” Jones said of the extensions. “There literally is no concern on my part at all about any timeframe. That’ll happen. The results are too good for them and too good for the Cowboys. Think about it a minute. The results are too good for them and too good for the Cowboys. That always happens when it’s good for both (sides).”

Prescott does not sound receptive to a Cowboys-friendly deal and Cooper seems more than willing to play out the final year of his pact in search of the biggest payday possible.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Notes: Zeke, Cooper, Martin

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones remains optimistic that his team will be able to get star RB Ezekiel Elliott back in camp, but he is not willing to capitulate to Elliott’s demands, as David Moore of the Dallas Morning News writes. Zeke, of course, is holding out of training camp and is working out in Mexico. He is under club control for two more seasons, and while Jones obviously wants him back, it will have to be on Dallas’ terms (which makes sense, given all of the other contract situations the team needs to address).

Now for more from the Cowboys:

  • Executive VP Stephen Jones said he had no update on the Elliott situation or on Amari Cooper‘s contract talks (Twitter link via Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). Jones indicated that there has not been much dialogue with Cooper’s camp about a possible extension. Cooper is presently dealing with a bruised heel that started bothering him Friday, so he may not see much action for the next few days, as Hill notes in a separate tweet.
  • Cowboys guard Zack Martin recently underwent an MRI on his back, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The club is encouraged by the results, but Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News reports that Martin has some irritation to a disc and could miss at least a week (Twitter link). It does not sound like there is any reason to panic at this point, but Martin will not be rushed back, and this could become a situation to keep an eye on.
  • Dallas could use some depth at guard — especially with Martin’s absence — and at cornerback, and Stephen Jones said the team is looking to sign a player or two at both positions (Twitter link via Hill).
  • Tony Pollard may not have entered the league with the same hype that accompanied Elliott a few years ago, but the fourth-round rookie has been very impressive in camp. Stephen Jones did not hesitate when naming Pollard as the young player who has stood out the most, per Hill (via Twitter).

Cowboys Rumors: Cooper, Hurns, Gregory

Here’s the latest on the Cowboys:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.