“I have no idea, don’t know,” Cook said about Claiborne’s availability for training camp from a contractual standpoint. “I don’t know. We’ll see.”
Cook wouldn’t get into specifics as to why a deal might not be reached. The Cowboys open training camp for rookies and selected veterans July 25 in Irving, Texas. The first practice for the 90-man roster will be July 30 in Oxnard, Calif.
Only two of the top 10 picks from this year's draft have signed contracts. Claiborne, selected sixth overall, is the only pick the Cowboys have yet to sign.
One of the issues regarding some draft picks is offset language that frees a team from the full obligation of guaranteed money should that player sign with another team after he’s cut in the future. During the Cowboys' minicamp, executive vice president Stephen Jones said the offset language in contracts is preventing deals from getting done now.
“That’s probably what is holding everybody up, because the money is the money,” he said. “I think everyone wants to be consistent at the end of the day. I think that is what is holding everything up, see what is going to be the flavor of the day.”
Jones didn’t respond for comment regarding Claiborne’s contract status.
Another issue is workers compensation. If an NFL player gets hurt, he’s entitled to compensation benefits while out of work.
However, most players file for compensation in California rather than in the state where they’re employed. California is the only state where pro athletes can file workers compensation claims for long-term injuries and receive benefits.
NFL teams are trying to prevent players from doing that and force players to only file in the state where they play.
Claiborne is also recovering from wrist surgery that's kept him out of all the offseason workouts. He's able to lift weights, do classroom work and some cardo, but he hasn't had any contact with receivers.
Claiborne said recently he hopes to be cleared to practice once training camp starts, but if he doesn't have a contract he will have to wait at home.