The Dallas Cowboys and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. held extensive but enjoyable meetings on Monday.
And the two sides were back at it on Tuesday.
But a 9-3 Cowboys team riding a three-game winning streak, that was hoping to add Beckham as a difference-maker for a possible Super Bowl run, is seemingly less optimistic about getting a deal done after initial talks than they were before he arrived.
Owner Jerry Jones said there is no timetable for a decision because certain questions still need to be answered by both sides, with Beckham’s health and his ability to contribute in 2022 as the No. 1 issue followed by his wishes for a multi-year deal.
The new tone can be linked to a feeling among the Cowboys medical staff that Beckham won’t be ready to contribute until the playoffs if all this season, sources confirmed.
“By no means are we at a position to say ‘close’ or where we are,” Jones said on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday. “We’re just discussing the many options that are there.”
Beckham has been idle since suffering a torn ACL in Super Bowl 56 as a member of the Los Angeles Rams last February.
And while he did undergo a physical with the Cowboys, Beckham did not work out for the team as part of the visit.
So how confident is Jones in signing a player coming off that injury who the team has not seen on the field?
“I’m not confident at all,” Jones said. “And so, that’s the issue. Now, we all realize that issue of health, that issue of availability is here every time. Just this one is very obvious and very pointed toward his injury that occurred last year in the Super Bowl. ... We got a great read on his career. It’s not like a draft pick coming at you. You got a lot of history here and you can take a good look at, not only the obvious and that’s his performance, but also any issues regarding health. So, all of this we got to come in with our eyes wide open and it has to be addressed, and that’s when you can see if you can make a deal or not.
“But make no mistake about it: medical is big.”
At this point Jones doesn’t know when Beckham will be able to play in 2022, whether that’s during the season or in the playoffs.
And while Beckham wants the security of at least a two-year deal, the Cowboys want some guarantees that Beckham can make an impact this season.
“There’s a lot of variables, a lot of variables here, a lot of things to consider,” Jones said. “It’s got to fit, and I mean that. It really does have to fit for both parties. There’s no gain if one or the other, the Cowboys or Odell, doesn’t have it where it feels good after you get it done. You can’t do anything that doesn’t last because this is like getting married. You’re not getting together to have issues after you get together. So, we’ve got to make sure we cover all the things that are important to him and important to us.”
Jones wouldn’t commit to the deal being off the table if Beckham couldn’t play, but his point of view is clear.
“Well, that’s harsh right there, but this year is paramount,” Jones said.
Jones said the Cowboys want take advantage of this rare opportunity to add a difference-making player, but their Super Bowl hopes will not set back if they don’t land Beckham.
“One way or the other, there’s not a failure here,” Jones said. “I’m talking about the actual signing or not signing. There’s not disappointment here. If this things work, it will improve this team now. It will improve it this year. If we don’t have that, then we’re in a positive situation as well. It has to improve us now. That’s a pretty tall order and it has to improve us in a way that makes sense for us, not only as we look at this year, but as it impacts the years to come relative to the financial aspect of it.”