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Offseason | 2024

Jerry Jones sees Dak Prescott contract affecting salary cap for five years


ORLANDO, Fla. — TV owner and general manager Jerry Jones and the other 31 owners in the NFL are at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Orlando this week for the Annual League Meeting.

In passing, Jones talked with reporters at the hotel on Sunday for nearly an hour to discuss where the Cowboys are at this point in the offseason as the dust continues to settle from a busy (or unbusy, depending on who you ask) free agency period.

Here are the highlights from that conversation.

Confidence in Dak

Amid ongoing negotiations for a contract extension for Dak Prescott – a topic that he remained consistent in not addressing – Jones has been almost redundant throughout the offseason in his confidence in his quarterback to be what the team needs to reach its ultimate goal.

"I think there are a handful or more of quarterbacks playing who haven't won a Super Bowl that will win a Super Bowl," Jones said. "I think Dak is one of them. I'm firm there. He's one of the ones who can."

Despite some anticipated new faces on both sides of the ball going into 2024 after the flurry of free agency saw six starters depart the building, Jones still sees a similarly high ceiling with Prescott at the helm.

"I think we're going to be as close, going in, as we've been with the last three teams with Dak,'' Jones said. "That is really the gist of what we're about this year. We've got Dak. We want to get it done. I think we have been in a situation where we can get it done with less."

Getting more done with less might be the story of what the rest of Prescott's career looks like in Dallas, whether that end writes itself one year from now – at the conclusion of his current contract with the team – or down the line with more at-bats in the playoffs. As it plays out, Jones did say that he anticipates Prescott's extension affecting the team's salary cap situation five years out from now.

Kickback for Tyler Smith?

With Tyron Smith now officially out of the door in Dallas and now looking forward in his career towards protecting Aaron Rodgers for the New York Jets, the Cowboys are now left to solve an interesting puzzle up front in 2024 to protect Dak Prescott.

One option to replace Smith is his former right-hand – literally – man in Tyler Smith who played next to the future Hall of Famer at left guard for the majority of his first two seasons in the league. The exception is when the younger Smith played at left tackle in his rookie season in place of the elder Smith who was sidelined for 13 games with injury. Upon his return, he slotted into right tackle.

Despite an All-Pro season for Tyler Smith at left guard this past year in just his second season, Jones said "don't dismiss" the idea of him moving back out to left tackle permanently.

"Certainly, he's potentially — I want to say a great player at left tackle," Jones said of his next cornerstone piece up front.

Familiar Pain with Tyron Smith

On that same topic, the departure of Tyron Smith was not an easy one, as Jones compared it to when he was forced to watch Hall of Fame defensive end DeMarcus Ware exit the building and sign with the Denver Broncos 10 years ago.

Jones implied that the standing salary that Smith signed for in New York was doable, but if he is to hit on all of the incentives that he is promised given his playing time and team success, that Dallas would not have been able to afford his services in 2024.

Stopping the Run

Jones highlighted at the beginning of the offseason at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. that running the ball more efficiently and stopping the run would be two big focuses of the offseason.

The latter has seen some positive movement since the start of free agency with the addition of veteran linebacker Eric Kendricks – a sure run-stopper who arrives in Dallas on the heels of eight consecutive seasons with 100 or more tackles.

Jones said he feels the team is already better at linebacker with the addition of Kendricks and the return of DeMarvion Overshown from an ACL injury that prevented him from taking the field in his rookie season.

"Now, can you manage to stop the run better than you did the last couple of years? It's down to those kinds of things," Jones said of how things can be different in 2024.

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