Way back in January, the Cowboys and representatives for DeMarcus Ware opened up discussions about a contract that would assure a long relationship between team and player. It seemed like it would be a fairly simple negotiation, which is to say convoluted and difficult but simple relative to some of the nastier contract conflicts around the NFL. Ware wasn't holding out, contracts signed by Dwight Freeney and Terrell Suggs established a general value and both sides seemed to want to get a deal done.
Something appears to have changed in the last seven months, though. That's the only conclusion to draw from comments on Monday by Stephen Jones. Double J's fair-haired boy/Cowboys executive vice president said that there hasn't been any discussion on the contract front since Not Camp Cupcake got underway, while still claiming he hoped a deal would get done.
"Things get done fast once both sides decide they want to do it," Jones said.
Neither Ware nor his agents had a comment, but it's fair to say that they'd be more than happy to sign a new contract rather than get stuck in restricted free agency following the season. That leaves only one side that hasn't decided they want to get a deal done, which is odd given the simultaneous discussion about the location of a fantastically expensive videoboard above the field of a fantastically expensive new stadium.
Those things are pretty worthless if they are displaying mediocre players, so why would you spend all that money there and then scrimp when it comes to the most talented member of your defense? There are practical reasons -- the aforementioned restricted free agent status, the risk of injury -- but those reasons were just as real in January when the Cowboys were interested in pursuing a new deal.
And those reasons are only practical if part of the message you want to send is that you don't care how hard a player works or how productive he is if there's a way to get around paying him at the appropriate level. That's probably not the message you want to send to your locker room, or the other players around the league, which would make it much easier to either evade the question or just say that negotiations are ongoing without trying to be cryptic and outing yourself as the hesitant party in the process.