"I just don't want to rule it out," Jones said after the Cowboys' 12-7 preseason loss Saturday to the Arizona Cardinals. "I don't want to give promise. I don't want to talk out of the side of my mouth. I just don't want to close the door."
A source close to Waters told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that the guard is still ready and willing to play for Dallas or another team in the right situation. The source said a report that Waters does not want to play football anymore is inaccurate.
Jones said the Cowboys remain interested in acquiring a starting-caliber guard. They reached an agreement with former New York Jets guard Brandon Moore on a one-year deal worth up to $2 million on Aug. 6, but Moore changed his mind and opted to retire the next morning.
The Cowboys have been in discussions with Waters, a six-time Pro Bowler, for a few weeks. Waters, 36, did not play last season, spending the year on the New England Patriots' reserve/did not report list. Asked if money was the primary factor for talks with Waters being cut off, Jones cited "a myriad of things."
Jones noted that Waters, who spent his first 11 NFL seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, did not sign with the Patriots until early September 2011. Waters started every game for a Super Bowl team and earned a Pro Bowl invitation that season.
"I wouldn't consider any of these players that we've talked to as impossible, done, over for us," Jones said. "I wouldn't do that. You don't know.
"It's quite an opportunity to sit here and play with five months with where you are right now. That's pretty appealing. It's not like you've got to start this thing in February if you're a veteran player who has the ability to come in and hit the ground running."
The Cowboys identified guard as their biggest personnel issue even before Nate Livings and Ronald Leary underwent arthroscopic knee surgery this month. They are optimistic that Leary, a second-year player who will likely unseat Livings as the starter at left guard, will be able to play in the Sept. 8 season opener against the New York Giants.
Right guard Mackenzy Bernadeau could be demoted to a reserve role if the Cowboys can acquire a veteran.
"We all know we're not talking about [someone] to come in here and be a starter for the next two preseason games and then be a backup after that," Jones said. "We're not talking about that. We're talking about somebody who can actually come in and be one of our starters. If we see the right situation, we'll go after that."
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter was used in this report.