Twenty-five teams across the NFL sent scouts to Atlanta on Saturday for a workout that quarterback Colin Kaepernick didn’t attend.
The Cowboys did not, and thus were not among the teams scrambling when Kaepernick’s representatives changed the location and terms of his workout 30 minutes before it was scheduled to begin.
Did the battle between the league and Kaepernick turn into a circus?
“I think so,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan when asked Tuesday morning on his regular radio appearance. “It’s unfortunate you can’t just zero in on the business at hand and that is evaluating the player who might or might not help you win a football game or move the chains within a football game.
“But that situation probably from the get-go had a lot more that wasn’t about football involved in it, and consequently we got the results of that dynamic.”
Kaepernick hasn’t played in the NFL since 2016 after kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and social inequality. Jones has said the Cowboys’ policy is players “stand at the anthem, toe on the line.” Jones was among owners deposed in the eventually settled collusion grievance Kaepernick filed against the league. The Cowboys have acquired two players this year who either raised a fist—Robert Quinn— or not been on the field—Michael Bennett— during the anthem, but both have stood while with Dallas.
Jones insisted that the primary reason Dallas didn’t staff the workout was because it’s comfortable with its current roster. The Cowboys have the league’s top offense and passing attack behind quarterback Dak Prescott, who’s averaging 322.1 yards per game and has thrown 21 touchdowns to seven interceptions. The Cowboys are averaging 444.6 yards of offense per game, 16 yards ahead of the second-ranked Baltimore Ravens.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to @1053thefan: “Let me be real clear about something. Zeke is one of the best football players in the National Football League. It makes no sense not to be trying to get the ball to Zeke or try to get the plays in and around Zeke.”
“We’re very fortunate right now that our quarterbacking is real good,” Jones said. “We of course aren’t in the quarterback business. We’re in the business of any time anywhere looking for talent, whether we need it now or whether we need it in the future. So the way these things go, you have the evaluation whether you’re there or not.”
Jones was asked whether he believes Prescott’s backup Cooper Rush is better than Kaepernick.
Rush has attempted just three throws in three years as a pro, as Prescott hasn’t missed a game in his career. Rush completed one pass in a 2017 game against the San Francisco 49ers. Jones said employing quarterbacks considers many factors including ability, salary and talent development.
“We believe that we’re in great shape relative to our position,” Jones added. There’s a lot of things. You look at the future, you look way ahead when you look at backup quarterback. “You get sometimes a quarterback that if you get them over to the practice squad, another team will pick them up. That doesn’t give you a good backup situation. … Certainly there’s a lot of intellectual consideration relative to what a quarterback has to do right now.”
Kaepernick said Saturday that he has “been for three years” and “denied for three years.”
“We’re waiting for the 32 owners, Roger Goodell, all them stop running,” he added. “Stop running from the truth.”
The Cowboys will soon have a decision to make with Prescott. Playing on the final year of his rookie contract, the 2016 fourth-round pick is setting career marks in several categories. Though Prescott and the Cowboys both maintain he’s their long-term answer, they have not agreed on terms of an extension.
“Well I don’t have any comment on that,” Jones said Tuesday. "We’ve got to have enough left to pay Zeke (Elliott, who received a six-year, $90 million deal in September), we’ve got to have enough left to pay that offensive line, we’ve got to have enough left to pay some of those key defensive players, and that’s always been what it’s been about: how to allocate the dollars.”
Follow Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.
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