Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said they’re “leaning” more towards franchising free agent WR Dez Bryant at this point in time, but added that they haven’t closed the door on reaching an agreement on a long-term deal.
“Right now all things being equal, it’s leaning more Dez with the franchise than it is not,” Jones said, via Rainer Saban of the Dallas Morning News. “But that doesn’t mean it will stay that way.
“We don’t ever want to give up on a long-term deal,” Jones continued. “It’s something we worked on all of last year and it kind of cooled off once we got into the season. We’ll continue to see what our options are and things happen quickly as you go along. Things can go along with a lot not going on, but all of a sudden it happens.”
Jones and the Cowboys are expected to meet with RB DeMarco Murray‘s representative, Bill Johnson, this week, but there is some uncertainty as to whether they’ll also meet with Bryant’s agent, Tom Condon.
It’s worth mentioning that Jones didn’t rule out the possibility of franchising Murray either.
There has been plenty of talk that the Cowboys are likely to franchise Bryant in this coming weeks, so this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Doing so would run them close to $12.321 million fully guaranteed for the 2015 season.
The fact that there hasn’t been much progress made towards a long-term agreement is a pretty good indication that it’s more likely Bryant will play out the 2015 season under the franchise tag.
Todd Archer recently mentioned that it’s conceivable the Cowboys could end up using their franchise tag on Bryant next season as well, if they are unable to reach an agreement on a long-term deal.
Bryant, 26, has solidified himself as one of the best receivers in the game today and is in line for a massive contract extension at some point that will leave him among the highest paid receivers in the game.
This season, Bryant caught 88 passes for 1,320 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns over the course of ten games. Pro Football Focus has Bryant rated as the No. 2 wide receiver in the league.
We have both Bryant and Murray featured in our Top 50 Free Agents list.