Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones told reporters on Wednesday that he expects the team to make a push to sign franchise WR Dez Bryant to a long-term extension before this summer’s deadline.
“We know he will be a Cowboy this year,” Jones said, via Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. “If he ends up playing this year under the tag we will go right back to work again next year. Now would we like to get a long term deal on him? Of course we would. We’ll work hard to do that and I’m sure we’ll make a push at some point and see if we can make it work. If not, hopefully he will understand it’s difficult to make a deal at this point and he’ll come in and get ready to play.”
Dallas has until July 15 to negotiate a long-term contract with Bryant. After that, they would have to wait until next year to sign him to a contract extension.
As of now, Bryant has yet to participate in the Cowboys’ voluntary offseason program. Although, Bryant has made a few appearances to Valley Ranch in recent weeks.
Jones previously offered an interesting reason for the delay in contract talks with Bryant, which is that the holdup has more to do with the market for solid young receivers slowing developing.
“I think a lot people want to naturally assume it’s a Dez Bryant-Cowboy issue. I think it’s a bigger issue than that right now,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News. “There’s three or four young receivers in this league other than Dez that are going to be looking for long term contracts.”
“No one has been able to really figure out what they think the market should be,” Jones said. “I think ultimately we’ll get this done. No one wants to have Dez long term involved with the Dallas Cowboys more so than our organization, Jerry and myself. Our goal is to get it done, get it done long term, so we can move forward and let Dez continue to make all the great plays he’s made up until this point.”
Dallas used their franchise tag on Bryant a few months ago, which means they’re looking at paying him a salary of $12.823 million fully guaranteed for the 2015 season. A long-term extension would offer them some immediate cap relief, but all indications have been that the Cowboys are approaching this situation with a great deal of caution.
Bryant, 26, caught 88 passes for 1,320 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns over the course of 16 games for Dallas last year. Pro Football Focus has Bryant rated as the No. 2 wide receiver in the league.
We’ll have more regarding Bryant and the Cowboys as the news is available.