The contract extension for Dez Bryant continues to loom over the Dallas Cowboys‘ franchise. He insists he’s letting things take care of themselves, but the two parties continue to be on completely different pages. The front office has leverage, but needs to get this deal done as soon as possible.
Bryant has said that he felt he’s a top-five wide receiver in the NFL and expects to be paid like it. He has thrown the $12 million figure out there as his desired salary per year. The Cowboys, on the other hand, are looking into the $8 million-$10 million range.
Looking at the numbers, Bryant probably deserves that money, as his production has been consistent with other top players at his position. The question marks still surround Bryant’s character. While he has been pretty clean off the field, he’s been labeled as an on-field distraction.
Personally, I think Bryant is a fiery competitor and is very outward in his expression, which turns a lot of people off. He’s often judged for other things instead of his play. People want to lump him together with Terrell Owens, but the two have entirely different approaches to the game. I have no problem with how he carries himself. It’s simple, if he’s on your team, you love him. If you’re the opposition, you are critical of him.
Dallas has the advantage of using the franchise tag on Bryant, which would pay him around his $12 million figure. While that number would be nice, I’m sure he would also like the comfort and stability of a long-term deal. Things might get even trickier if the Cowboys sign Tyron Smith to an extension before Bryant. I think that may really put the pressure on the organization.
While the Cowboys have most of the leverage, I think Bryant has the trump card. The market is more favorable right now, and it isn’t going to go down all of a sudden. The longer Dallas waits, the more money they will have to throw at him. With players like DeMaryius Thomas, A.J. Green and Julio Jones also looking for new deals in the near future, the numbers will continue to rise.
The Cowboys don’t want to be tied to Bryant for a big number and salary cap hit. I look for them to figure out an incentive-based contract, which has been a popular tactic for them to use in many of their recent deals.
I would pay him now. I think five years for $60 million is perfect. The Cowboys could stagger it however they want in terms of a signing bonus or guaranteed money; they would probably chunk the bonuses toward the latter part of the deal, especially as the salary cap will rise in the next few years.
I think this is a very intriguing storyline to watch. Bryant wants to stay in Dallas and the Cowboys want to keep him. The deal will eventually get done, but only at the right figure. Bryant, Cowboys’ fans and all the top-level receivers around the league will be waiting patiently to see the exact terms of the deal.