According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Cowboys are “far more likely” to franchise WR Dez Bryant than RB DeMarco Murray if they are unable to get a long-term deal in place with Bryant in the coming months.
Based on the contracts signed by free agent running backs in recent years, it would really be surprising to see the Cowboys franchise Murray as it would run them close to $10 million.
The receiver tag would cost Dallas $12.321 million and there’s no question that allowing other teams to bid on Bryant could leave the Cowboys in a vulnerable position, so it would make plenty of sense for them to tag Dez if contract talks break down.
Bryant has said previously that he would not be happy if they used the franchise tag on him, but Cole doesn’t think this will be a major issue in the end.
The Cowboys’ best offer to Bryant was reportedly a 10-year deal worth $114 million with close to $20 million guaranteed. Bryant would reportedly receive an average salary of just $10 million over the first six years of the agreement.
This is a similar type of contract to the one signed by Cowboys LT Tyron Smith, who received a ten-year, $109 million contract that includes $40 million guaranteed.
Bryant, 25, will be an unrestricted free agent following the season and has emerged as one of the best receivers in the game today. He stands to make just $1.78 million for the 2014 season.
This season, Bryant has caught 56 passes for 793 yards receiving and eight touchdowns over the course of ten games. Pro Football Focus has Bryant rated as the No. 1o wide receiver in the league.
We have Bryant listed as the No. 3 player in our recently updated Top 25 – 2015 Free Agents list.