Cowboys' Amari Cooper contract talks remain paused, Jerry Jones hammers on intention to get deal done

There's no change on the status of contract talks between Amari Cooper and the Dallas Cowboys, and that's not news if you've kept up with my reporting on the situation. There hasn't been traction since May, and it's for a variety of reasons that are all rooted in the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver betting big on himself in 2019.

Having now seen the market successfully play to his favor with record-setting deals being given to Michael Thomas by the New Orleans Saints and Julio Jones by the Atlanta Falcons, the only thing left for Cooper to do now is be patient and prove he's one of the best receivers in the NFL. If he can do that successfully this season, he'll be on track for an even larger payday than whatever the latest offer has been from the Cowboys -- considering they do have one in front of him right now, and have for months. 

Much like quarterback Dak Prescott and to a lesser but still important degree, Byron Jones, the Cowboys are well aware of what's causing the holdup, but they're also completely unbothered at the moment. That's why there won't be an extra push to get any deals done simply because it's the bye week.

"No, [we won't push for bye week deal closings] necessarily at all," Jones told 105.3FM the Fan following a blowout win over the Eagles in Week 7, in which Cooper battled through a thigh bruise to deliver 106 yards on five receptions. "That's ongoing. It is what it is, but it's ongoing. And when the games are going on -- if you have business in this particular case, contract business -- that can be ongoing if it's happening. And, so, the representatives of the players, the players themselves -- I, of all people, have no issue with a player stepping out of a meeting or stepping off a practice field and potentially visiting with his agent about his contract. 

"One may say you're crazy, but I'm a multi-task guy. And I don't have bright lines. Don't go there. This is all you need to be thinking about. 

"I've never had that philosophy. I've had blurred lines. And, so, it's not a problem for me to be talking business with any player, any time."

In other words, as has been and will continue to be the case, the Cowboys are open for business every day both now and later. This means a deal could land within five minutes of this article being filed to CBS Sports, or not until 2020, or maybe not until 2021 -- considering the Cowboys have the option to utilize both the franchise and transition tags in the next few months. Granted, as former agent and CBS Sports contract guru Joel Corry points out, they'd rather not use those options, but they're keenly aware of the ability to pull those triggers to keep both Cooper and Prescott in tow for 2020 while things continue to be hashed out.

Again, that's if it takes that long. And, because I know you're wondering the cost, the franchise tag for a quarterback in 2020 is projected to land at $26,700,000, while placing a transition tag on a wideout will cost upward of $15,926,000

Even with roughly $100 million on tap, the Cowboys would like to avoid slicing $42.63 million out of the pie for two players. Before your eyes fall out of your face and roll onto your sandwich, If push comes to shove, the club certainly will, and it would still leave them holding a hefty $57.38 million in space; and that's more space than they've had since far before the latest Collective Bargaining Agreeement was ratified nearly a decade ago.

For now, it's all about working to again build their win column after stopping a three-game slide to again step above the dreaded .500 mark, and using the bye week for Cooper and others to fully heal before attempting to sweep the New York Giants in Week 9. Cooper has been key to keeping the Cowboys winning games since being landed by way a blockbuster trade in 2018 that saw the team gift a 2019 first-round pick to the Oakland Raiders to acquire his services.

He's since delivered 1,346 yards and 11 touchdowns in 16 regular season games, and one of those starts includes having played only three snaps -- versus the Jets in Week 6 of this season -- before leaving with the aforementioned thigh bruise. It only helps his case that he's racked up 398 receiving yards and three touchdowns, not to mention one of the TDs being a walk-off winner in overtime in 2018, against the rival Eagles.

It's a dessert to sweet for Jones to fathom allowing another team to steal and enjoy, and having nearly $100 million in cap space next offseason only serves his confidence that much more.

In the end, he has zero plans on letting Cooper walk.

"We're proud to have Amari," Jones said. "He's impactful to our team. That's exactly what we use that pick for. He's certainly performed at the level that we anticipated. 

"As far as extending him, I know that no one has that type of information because I'm the only one that ultimately makes that decision. I have no reason to think that Amari Cooper won't finish his career with the Dallas Cowboys."

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