Cowboys Contractual Trio: No Animosity Here

IRVING - Dez is working out at Cowboys HQ. Carr is playing golf with Cowboys sponsors. Scandrick is expressing respect for Cowboys bosses and on his way to town. Where is all the normal contractual contentiousness here?

A week ago, Orlando Scandrick dropped into town for a meeting at Valley Ranch that sources tell me included a meeting with the Joneses featuring an exchange of mutual admiration between all parties. As this week begins, involved parties believe the team's top cornerback might do some of his talking on the Dallas Cowboys practice field.

Just 24 hours after Scandrick's session with the Joneses, Brandon Carr was making nice at the Cowboys Golf Tournament, glad-handing team sponsors -- essentially on behalf of an ownership that has threatened to slice his contract in half.

And just 48 hours after that came a Thursday at Valley Ranch that had Dez Bryant telling me he was in the building from sometime before 11:30 a.m. and until at least 1 p.m., doing some weightlifting, some greeting of the fellas, and I assumed, a "hello'' for coaches and execs.

Where is the animosity? Where is contentiousness? Where is the conflict?

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has publicly expressed optimism about a Scandrick negotiation that could increase his 2015 salary of $1.5 million while also taking into consideration that his 2013 renegotiation guaranteed Scandrick $9 million. As part of a "good-faith'' gesture, I bet he's about to attend some Cowboys' offseason voluntary program stuff this week with coaches. I bet there is enough progress that the OTA slated to begin May 26 might include him. I bet the mandatory minicamp scheduled for June 16-18 will absolutely include him.

Contractually, missing workouts can mean a forfeiture of $500,000 of Scandrick's base salary but that can in theory be made up for with a new renegotiated deal. And I bet that happens, too.

Same thing goes for Brandon Carr. Even as he faces a severe slice of his existing contract -- or worse, a complete severing of his ties to the club -- he is so optimistic that even through discussions about his money he's representing the Cowboys in positive ways.

“I’m here right now having a great time golfing,’’ Carr said on Tuesday at the club's annual golf tournament, during which he happily glad-handed corporate sponsors on behalf of his employer. “I’m a Cowboy. I love being a Cowboy. As long as I’m in this building I’m going to give it my all. I love playing the game of football.’’

Carr is set to count $12.7 million against the cap this season. His base salary is $8 million. One Cowboys thought is to cut that figure by about half. Another -- should Carr refuse such a proposal -- is to designate him as a post-June 1 cut, which erases his 2015 hit (but eats up $7 million of cap space in 2016). That second idea is not optimal because Dallas wants Carr to remain as a part of the team ... which is why there is a third option: restructure his contract to possibly add a year while reducing the cap hit for this season and transforming some of his due money into a guaranteed money.

Really, Dallas could do something like that with Carr and Scandrick, extending their deals out (in Carr's less to lessen the cap blow, in Scandrick's case to up his salary.

And Dez? The "Cowboys For Life'' concept is all about saving cap money -- well, that and keeping under contract (and keeping happy) arguably the best receiver in football. ... and rewarding him for his devotion to the cause. Yes, if nothing changes, he eventually gets his franchise-tag salary of $12.823 million and probably stays away from Valley Ranch in "protest.'' ... but he already can't stay away from Valley Ranch. There are hundreds of places for him to lift weights on a Thursday middday. But Dez chose team headquarters.

There are also dozens of ways for Dez to express himself, but in our conversations he's rarely mentioned any animosity towards Cowboys ownership and on Twitter, he's made quite a point of asserting his ties to this franchise. His bio even reads, "Cowboy for Life!''


“We’re evaluating,'' Jerry said, "looking to the extent that we can make contractual adjustments that would fit and help us under the cap. We want to try to do that with him.''

Jerry was talking specifically about Carr here. But he might as well have been talking about Scandrick and Dez, too, the Cowboys trying to make "contractual adjustments'' for them and the three players doing all the right things to merit those adjustments.

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