Todd Archer of ESPN.com writes that the Cowboys would like to a contract extension in place for WR Dez Bryant who is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
According to Archer, Bryant doesn’t want to leave Dallas and the Cowboys feel the same way.
Even so, Archer still expects the Cowboys to try to structure Bryant’s next contract so that more money is included in base salaries in order to protect them moving forward.
There are some off-the-field concerns about Bryant, but he has quickly established himself as of one the best receivers in the game and is without a doubt the Cowboys best offensive weapon.
Bryant, 25, is set to make just $1.78 million for the 2014 season, so you can see he’s clearing in line for a sizable raise.
It will be interesting to see how he’s able to secure in terms of guarantees in next contract. There is a pretty wide gap between Calvin Johnson ($48.75 million) and Larry Fitzgerald ($27 million). Dez could either come close or possibly surpass $27 million guaranteed given that guys like Mike Wallace and Vincent Jackson secured close that much in their recent contracts.
Last year, Bryant caught 93 passes for 1,233 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 22 receiver in the league last season.
According to Archer, the Cowboys are hoping to sign LT Tyron Smith to a long-term contract.
Archer mentions that a new deal could be in place this summer or at the start of training camp.
This coincides with what Archer has been saying for some time now.
Archer previous wrote; “Smith does not turn 24 until Dec. 12. He is coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance. He had his best season. He has fully acclimated to the left tackle spot after playing right tackle as a rookie in 2011. It is rare to find a player of Smith’s age and ability who is closing in on free agency. He was 20 when the Cowboys picked him ninth overall.“
Dallas has already picked up Smith’s fifth-year option, which means they could be looking at paying him $10.039 million for the 2015 season. However, this figure is only guaranteed for injury and wouldn’t prevent them from negotiating a long-term contract that would ultimately reduce that figure to something for cap-friendly.
Pro Football Focus graded Smith as the fifth-best tackle in the league last season, allowing only one sack, three QB hits, and 27 QB hurries.
Archer believes the Cowboys should approach RB DeMarco Murray with a “reasonable deal” in the hope that he takes it now.
Archer refers to Murray as a “difference-maker,” but doesn’t think it’s a smart move to pay him top dollar in the long-run.
The fact that the running back market had another less than spectacular year should work to the Cowboys benefit.
Donald Brown and Toby Gerhart wound up securing the best contracts for running backs in the free agent market this year. Both players received a three-year deal worth $10.5 million, but Gerhart edged Brown in full guaranteed by just $500,000.
Murray, 26, trigger an escalator in his rookie contract that will increase his base salary from $755,469 to $1.389 million in 2014.
Last season, Murray appeared in 14 games for Dallas and totaled 1,124 yards rushing on 217 carries (5.2 YPC) to go along with 10 combined touchdowns.
Archer also mentioned that the Cowboys could approach RT Doug Free regarding an extension if they miss out on one of the top tackles this week.
Archer specifically suggests that Notre Dame OL Zack Martin could be on their radar in round one, but there has been enough buzz surrounding Martin in recent weeks that it appears unlikely he would be available to them.
Free, 30, agreed to a $3.5 million pay cut to remain with the Cowboys last year. He will make $3.5 million for the 2014 season and carries a $6.52 million cap figure.
The fact that the Cowboys asked him to reduce his pay could be a disadvantage as he could try to recoup some of his lost salary in the process.
Last year, Pro Football Focus rated Free as the No. 4 right tackle in the league.