Dan Graziano of ESPN, citing a source close to the situation, reports that the NFL players’ union plans to move ahead with collusion charges against the Cowboys and Broncos in the event long-term contracts aren’t worked out with franchise WRs Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas before Wednesday’s deadline.
Graziano’s source added that the NFLPA informed the Cowboys and Broncos Monday that they need to preserve any e-mails, phone records, texts and records of other communication between the two teams.
The union says that they have “credible information” that the Cowboys and Broncos have had conversations about the negotiations of long-term deals for Bryant and Thomas.
According to Graziano, the union believes that a success in the collusion case would result in treble damages, which would entitle Thomas and Bryant to triple the value of the highest current wide receiver contract on the market.
For what it’s worth, Lions WR Calvin Johnson sits atop all receivers in terms of average salary at roughly $16.2 million per year.
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the collusion evidence in regards to the NFLPA’s inquiry into the Cowboys and Broncos and stems from a conversation between Cowboys VP Stephen Jones and WR Dez Bryant.
A source with knowledge of the situation tells Florio that Jones explained to Bryant that the Calvin Johnson contract has no relevance to other receivers in line for new extensions because Johnson’s contract stems from the pre-rookie wage scale.
Florio’s source added that Jones told Bryan that he spoke to Broncos G.M. John Elway regarding this situation.
Both the Cowboys and Broncos used their franchise tags on Bryant and Demaryius Thomas, which means they’re in comparable situations as the deadline approaches to negotiate with franchise players.
If Jones spoke to Elway about their plans for Thomas, it could be considered evidence of collusion.
Since the news came out, both teams have downplayed the situation, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Jones deny any that he spoke to Elway.
The Broncos declined to comment on the report of collusion between them and the Cowboys, according to Albert Breer.
- Denver said that this is the first they’ve heard about the situation and have no contact from the NFLPA.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter, citing a NFL Players Association official, reports that the NFLPA is currently reviewing information to see if there has been any collusion between the Broncos and Cowboys regarding the unsettled contract situations for receivers Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant.
According to the Schefter, the NFLPA believes the Broncos and Cowboys had contact about each players’ contract, even though the collective bargaining agreement prohibits them from discussing their particular negotiations.
All four players are entering the final year of their current agreements and look to be in position to set the market for future negotiations with No. 1 receiver options.
Cowboys vice president Stephen 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,” 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.”
Recent reports have said that the Cowboys could have an agreement in place with Bryant at some point this week. However, others have downplayed the idea, saying that there hasn’t been much, if any, progress made in recent weeks.
Both Bryant and Thomas received franchise tags several months ago, while Green and Jones are in line to play out the 2015 season under the fifth-year options in their rookie contracts.
Denver and Dallas have until Wednesday of next week to negotiate contract extensions for Bryant and Thomas.