Jerry Jones defensive about Cowboys offseason moves, “all in” on Dak Prescott’s future

What was supposed to be pre-draft press conference turned into Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones being getting defensive about the team’s lack off season moves, their seemingly diminished roster and the future of quarterback Dak Prescott.

It was Jones who first claimed that the Cowboys were going to be “all in” improving the the roster to finally put a winner on field in 2024 after seeing a third-straight 12-5 season end with another early playoff exit, this time an unconscionable 48-32 wild card loss to the Green Bay Packers.

That was before the Cowboys lost five starters in free agency and added just two outside free agents.

No team has spent less money in free agency than the Cowboys, which Jones and vice president Stephen Jones blamed on salary cap restraints and the need to hold money back to sign quarterback Dak Prescott, receiver CeeDee Lamb and edge rusher Micah Parsons.

None it looks like “all in”.

The Cowboys have made no progress on signing Prescott, Lamb or Parsons.

And they still have tons of holes to fill.

But Jones, nevertheless, says the team feels good about where they are heading into the draft and winning games in 2024 because of some of the young players they hope will step up.

“Without in any way being defensive, we’re very proud of our personnel. Very proud of this roster,” Jones said. “We feel good about the promise of the team we’re going to have this year with this roster. Is it ambiguous? Of course it is.

“The question in my mind about all of this is how do we feel about where we’ve been in this free agency? We feel great about what we’ve been in free agency. All in. All in. All in. We’re all in with these young guys. We’re all in with this draft.”

Vice-president Stephen Jones was in lock step with the elder Jones. He said the Cowboys can win with the roster they but nothing will matter if they don’t advance in the playoffs.

“The thing I would say too is that the elephant in the room is our playoff success,” Stephen Jones said. “Until we have the success in the playoffs, that’s the biggest question that everybody is gonna ask: How are you gonna get over that hurdle? And we feel like we can do it with this roster. I know [coach] Mike [McCarthy] feels strongly about our team and what we can get done with it. But that’s the elephant in the room.”

That question has Cowboys fans disillusioned as ever about the lack of offseason moves and ability to get over the hump in 2024.

It had Jerry Jones, who remarked several times about not trying to be defensive, in full retreat for much of the 53-minute press conference.

He explained how the Cowboys cap constraints came as no surprise to them and “we have embraced running out of cap room, just as we embraced using it when we had it. So you embrace a lot about where you are.”

Jones even confused himself at one time, saying the Cowboys are picking 24th because “they were the 24th best team” in the NFL in 2023.

Actually, they are picking 24th because they were ranked the eighth best by record and finish. The draft order goes from worst to first.

The “all in” discrepancy was only topped his explanation of where the team is regards to the aforementioned contract extensions.

It’s been widely reported that the Cowboys have not had substantive talks with either of the players on new deals, which Jones disputed and said he is playing option quarterback.

“The point is you may be working on it and not moving anything but your eyebrows,” Jones said. “Who in the world would think that we’re not working on it? We’d like to see some more leaves fall. We’d like to see some more action. It’s called option. A lot of guys need to hand it off, first guy through the line. Another guy will keep it a step and decide whether to pitch it or not, whether to cut upfield or pitch left. So, it’s called an option quarterback. That’s working the problem.

“I can do that, and that’s just a style that you have. So, you never know. To say that you’re not working on it or going is not the right answer. The difference is the style.”

What Jones is certain about is the Cowboys are locked in with the quarterbacks they have on the roster and will not consider one in the draft.

And they remain committed to Prescott as their quarterback for now and future.

Prescott is heading into the final year of the four-year, $160 million deal in 2021 and has a $59 million cap hit in 2024..

He led the NFL in touchdown passes last season and finished second in NFL MVP voting. They believe he can be even better in a second year with Mike McCarthy as head coach.

“We want Dak Prescott. That’s that,” Jones “There’s no question that Mike’s focus and how he [Prescott] improved last year. I give Mike a lot of credit for that. That improvement demonstrated to me there’s more as far as ultimately winning what we’re trying to do here. The question nails it for me. We want Dak. We think that there’s room for growth. He is absolutely unsurpassed as what he is as an individual with his work ethic, what he brings with his leadership and everything about what you would think about as a quarterback. So he’s got that. He’s had a few hits, but everybody has that too.”

The issue for the Cowboys is Prescott has just two playoff wins in eight years as the starting quarterback.

And as much Jones allegedly likes the team’s roster going into next year, he admits that Prescott will have to work with lesser talent than years past.

“Dak has enjoyed, in his career that we’re proud of, some of the best supporting casts that you could put around him,” Jones said. “To move forward, we will have to diminish that. That’s a fact. That’s the rules. That’s our challenge and to make it work out. Dak as the quarterback Cowboys, I don’t even have a blink on that one.”

That doesn’t seem like a winning formula either.