The tricky part about coming to an agreement is that Ratliff has two years remaining on the deal he signed in 2007. The Cowboys have mostly extended the contracts of players in the final year of their deals.
Ratliff signed a five-year, $20.5 million deal in '07 and has base salaries of $3.75 million and $4.875 million remaining.
"I would not characterize our position as unhappy, but I would agree with the characterization that he's outperformed the contract," said Ratliff's agent, Mark Slough. "We'll let all the other discussions happen behind closed doors. Jay wants to be a Cowboy for life."
Buffalo signed defensive end Kyle Williams, a one-time Pro Bowl pick, to a six-year deal worth $39 million and $17 million guaranteed recently, and he had two years remaining on his contract.
The Cowboys have roughly $11.5 million in salary-cap space after Monday's release of Andre Gurode to extend Ratliff's contract; however, they likely wouldn't want to spend all of that money this year. They can carry over the amount they are under the cap this year to increase next season's cap.
Todd Archer covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com.