Jerry Jones, Cowboys suddenly cools Odell Beckham Jr. talks Here’s what it means

FRISCO, Texas — When the Dallas Cowboys invited Odell Beckham Jr. to visit Monday and Tuesday, two schools of thought came to mind.

Should the 9-3 team muster a high-profile talent ahead of their Super Bowl push in hopes he’s the missing piece, or should there be just a modicum of welcome receiver depth?

Or should Dallas cut through the Flash (yes, team owner Jerry Jones created a lot of it himself), critically assess Beckham’s rehabilitation from a cruciate ligament rupture in February, and avoid the financial and medical risk in favor of allocating snaps and the 2023 salary — room for their current roster core limit?

Check out some of the poses from this week’s Cowboys Brass.

In an interview, one executive said they would “probably do something awkward to him” and prioritize reward over risk because “we have a quarterback [in Dak Prescott] that could really make some music with him.” Beckham is “the real deal” and still has marks in his career. “I want this to work,” emphasized the manager. “I’ll try to make it work. I will look for reasons to do this [the deal]no reasons not to do it.”

Now consider another interview with Cowboys management this week.

“I’m not confident at all,” the team boss said of Beckham’s current state of health. “We have to come in with our eyes open [because] make no mistake: medicine is big.” The executive declined to confirm that a return to the game after this season would undeniably take a deal off the table. “It’s tough,” the officer said. “But this year is of the utmost importance.”

The second interview ended with the following comments, which outlined the upcoming deal-or-no-deal outlook.

“One way or another, there is no fault here,” they said. “There is no disappointment here.”

Who and when did these comments come from? The answer is telling.

The 2 Sides of Jerry Jones

The first interview in which he dreamed of rainbows, unicorns and butterflies while Beckham donned the star came from Jerry Jones. After Dallas’ 54-19 win over the Indianapolis Colts, he spoke to reporters until after 11 p.m. Sunday outside the team’s locker room at AT&T Stadium.

Dallas had won its ninth game of the season. Beckham was on his way to visit the facility just hours later. opportunity awaited.

The second interview?

This aired Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. CT on Dallas-based radio station 105.3 The Fan, the Cowboys’ flagship radio station. Less than 34 hours had passed since Jones’ postgame comments.

Beckham had already met with Jones, McCarthy, senior athletic trainer Jim Maurer and director of rehabilitation Britt Brown. He had previously sat on the sidelines at the Dallas Mavericks game alongside Cowboys All-Pro linebacker Micah Parsons and Cowboys All-Pro cornerback Trevon Diggs. Other meetings were scheduled for Tuesday, including a scheduled visit to the Cowboys governing council players, namely Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Odell Beckham Jr. (right) sits next to Dallas Cowboys Micah Parsons (left) and Trevon Diggs (center) as he sits courtside during a Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns game Monday, December 5, 2022 in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Amidst the excitement surrounding Beckham’s visit, who gave this much more cautious, hesitant, borderline pessimistic interview?

None other than the same man who spoke Sunday night: Jerry Jones.

Jones’ role with the Cowboys is multifaceted, but mostly split into two parts. He is the team owner. Unlike the other 30 owners of the NFL (or the members of the ownership group who hold shares in the Green Bay Packers), he is also the team’s general manager. Over the years, the Dallas media has made a distinction that head coach Mike McCarthy has stated publicly multiple times this year.

When you hear Jerry Jones speak, you think which Jerry is speaking: Team Owner Jerry or GM Jerry?

The team owner and chief promoter was in full glory on Sunday evening.

On Tuesday morning, the general manager lens shone more clearly.

Will the Cowboys make a deal with Beckham?

On Wednesday morning, after Beckham returned home, McCarthy called Beckham’s visit “very positive” and “productive.” Like Jones, he was impressed by Beckham. Like Jones, he focused his praise on Beckham’s character rather than his potential to add to Dallas’ roster.

“I really don’t have an update” on a timeline, McCarthy said, offering a reminder that the Cowboys are preparing for a game against the Houston Texans on Sunday. He said he has not discussed negotiations with Jerry Jones, Executive Vice President Stephen Jones or Vice President of Player Personnel Will McClay.

Jerry Jones, stopped in the hallway by Yahoo Sports on Wednesday afternoon, reiterated that he had no news on the negotiations.

“We’re still working on it,” Jones said, citing the delicate nature of health discussions when he declined to answer some questions.

McCarthy declined to confirm if Beckham was ready to play. He also declined to say whether the team had made an offer to the recipient.

“As far as medicine goes, there are a lot of variables,” McCarthy said. “Not only am I not talking about the medicine, I’m not talking about the finances. That is the business component of our business.”

Parsons, who visited Beckham, including for several hours at the Mavericks game, said Beckham has timed his return to the game for five weeks. That would rule out Beckham for the entire regular season. Returning to full speed for the postseason would be difficult.

Dallas Morning News veteran writer David Moore reported that Beckham was neither exercising nor “physically active” during his two-day visit. It seems this is contributing to the team’s reticence about his health.

The tenor in the dressing room also began to change on Wednesday following Beckham’s visit. Several players, speaking to Yahoo Sports, said they wanted to focus on the team’s upcoming games and the current situation, rather than speculating on a player who isn’t healthy enough to play yet. Veteran defense attorney DeMarcus Lawrence even declined to confirm that it was “fair” to see he wanted Beckham in the house.

“It’s fair to say I’m trying to get a Super Bowl,” Lawrence quipped. “Well if he can come and help us with that then yes I will accept him. But if we’re just doing the circus, no, I’m not doing that.

“My focus is on this year, this team, what we have in this dressing room and the journey we are on.”

Some players worried about a distraction that could derail what they felt would be a special season.

Could a Beckham deal still go through? Neither he nor the team have publicly ruled out that possibility, although their silence and inaction speak loudly. Could Beckham not be signed this season and instead sign with a team in the spring once he is expected to be not only medically cleared but ready to resume football activities? Growing mood surrounds this performance.

McCarthy echoed a reflection from Tuesday that shaped this whole college-style recruiting of Beckham.

“I’ve never been part of a situation like that in December,” he said. “This is a very special situation.”

And the Cowboys, as spectacularly demonstrated by Beckham’s recruitment, are a very unique team.

Follow Yahoo Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein

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