Stephen Jones just confirmed Cowboys fans' worst fears about Stephon Gilmore

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The Dallas Cowboys couldn't have done less in free agency if they tried. They claimed players like running back Zack Moss and nose tackle Johnathan Hankins were too expensive even though neither player eclipsed $4 million in total salary. If there's one way the Cowboys could salvage a dismal start to the offseason, though, it would be re-signing Stephon Gilmore.

Think about it. If Gilmore returns, the Cowboys would have three All-Pros at cornerback and another standout in Jourdan Lewis who played the best ball of his career to close last season, showing that he's fully recovered from Lisfranc surgery.

Yes, re-signing Gilmore might be a luxury but shouldn't the Cowboys get greedy at one position after bypassing opportunities to improve other areas of need like running back, left tackle, center and defensive tackle? That's what an all-in team would do, anyway

The Cowboys, of course, aren't all-in, and EVP Stephen Jones all but confirmed that when he was asked about Gilmore returning in 2024 at the league meetings in Orlando.

Stephen Jones all but confirms Stephon Gilmore won't be back with Cowboys in 2024

"I just know we think a whole lot about Stephon. Obviously with [DaRon] Bland stepping up and us re-signing J-Lew [Jourdan Lewis] and of course having [Trevon] Diggs coming off that injury, there's another really great football player that were allocating a lot of our cap resources to that didn't play much last year."

"It's just having to pick and choose where you want to use your resources. Not only was [Stephon] really good for us on the field, but I'd say a better guy off the field in terms of how he goes about his business, just being a pro, helping the young guys. I hope things go well for him and he was nothing but very productive for us and we don't ever rule that out, either."

Again with the cap excuse. What's funny is that Diggs only counts $15.36 million against the cap next season, which is the fifth-highest on the team, per Over The Cap.

A restructure would lower his hit to a palatable $7.46 million. That alone would leave plenty of wiggle room to re-sign Gilmore for $6-9 million, but Lewis is only on the books for $2.6 million guaranteed and Bland is still on his rookie contract. As a former fifth-round pick, Bland will pocket less than $1 million in 2024.

The Cowboys were prepared to pay Diggs and Gilmore last season. What caused the change of heart? Is it because extensions loom for Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons? It's not like those deals will kick in this upcoming season and Gilmore is likely seeking a one-year deal.

There are myriad ways to manipulate the cap, but Stephen and Jerry Jones insist on pushing the narrative that they're out of tricks. It's no surprise they've taken that route, but don't allow them to trick you into thinking that Gilmore is out of their price range.

Jones didn't fully shut the door on Gilmore, but it sounds like a long shot at best that the former Defensive Player of the Year will be back in Dallas.

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