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Cowboys seem to twist CeeDee Lamb comments into something they weren’t

On Monday, a report emerged that Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb is expected to skip the voluntary portion of the offseason program, and possibly will skip the mandatory minicamp. A video then emerged on TMZ.com of Lamb answering very general questions about his future.

He wasn’t asked whether he’ll stay away from voluntary workouts or mandatory minicamp. He was only asked whether he’ll be in Dallas. Saying “I’ll be in Dallas” doesn’t mean he won’t be holding out.

The Cowboys don’t see it that way. The team’s official website bootstraps Lamb’s statement into proof positive that he won’t hold out for the new contract he has earned.

The article in question characterizes Lamb as someone who “doesn’t appear bothered, concerned or dismayed by his ongoing contract negotiations” and that he “doesn’t sound like . . . a player who is worried about his future with the Cowboys.”

Whether he’ll be in Dallas this season and whether he’ll participate in the offseason program are two very different questions. The Cowboys and the league’s official website, which wrote its own item on Lamb’s comments, don’t see it that way.

They surely know better. Whether the goal is to downplay the team’s failure to make an acceptable offer to date or to position Lamb to be criticized if/when he ultimately stays away, Lamb has not committed to being at offseason workouts.

He has earned a long-term deal, and he has played four seasons. The Cowboys, who seem to like to delay paying their stars (even though it rarely gets cheaper over time), have yet to make him an offer he won’t refuse.

The challenge is finding the right number for both sides. The Cowboys’ leverage comes from having Lamb under contract for 2024 and also having the franchise tag available for 2025. Lamb has one way to create leverage — by denying services.

He can, and he should. And no one should interpret his remarks to TMZ.com as evidence that he won’t.