Updates from Friday, Aug. 29
ESPN's Tim MacMahon has an update on talks between Bryant and the Cowboys:
“I don’t know,” Jones said. “Certainly I don’t mean to say anything is a given or easy, but I do want what’s in his best interest and I want him to be a long-term player for the Cowboys. He knows that. I’m proud of the progress he’s made and we’ll just see if we can make this work for everybody.”
It’s extremely rare for Jones to personally meet with a player to discuss a deal without the presence of an agent in the room.
“We have had good visits,” Jones said. “It’s a little different to be talking directly, for me to be talking directly with the player. I know of two that I’ve spent a lot of time directly talking with in some pretty sensitive areas when you’re talking about money. We all understand what that means. One of them Michael Irvin. He asked me to induct him into the Hall of Fame later and Emmitt Smith, he asked me to induct him into the Hall of Fame later. Troy [Aikman] always had Leigh Steinberg there, but we kind of talked straight in there together.
“But Dez and I have been visiting for years, ever since he’s been a Cowboy regarding things, and so it is a fairly unique situation that we’ve talked as much as we’ve talked, made it pretty easy and maybe propitious to be able to talk to him about his contract. That’s why we were actually talking there.”
Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 27
Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and owner Jerry Jones met Tuesday at the club’s Valley Ranch training complex to discuss the receiver’s contract situation, two sources said.
The two also spoke briefly in the locker room after Saturday’s preseason game about the prospect of getting a deal done before the start of the regular season on Sept. 7. Bryant has repeatedly said he doesn’t want to discuss a new contract once the season begins.
Executive Vice President/COO Stephen Jones was asked about the progress via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News:
Cowboys and Dez Bryant close on a new contract? Stephen Jones: "[Contracts are] either done or their not done, and it's not done."— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 27, 2014
Stephen Jones on Dez Bryant contract: "We're working on it. I'm optimistic that we'll eventually get something done."— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 27, 2014
Stephen Jones on Dez Bryant contract: "If we don't get it done before the season starts, we'll get it done after the season."— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 27, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 26
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported the latest on talks between Dez Bryant and the Cowboys:
Chris Wesseling of NFL.com passed along more on a timeline for a potential deal"
NFL Media columnist Michael Silver reports, via sources in Dallas, that negotiations have intensified greatly.
There is now reason to believe Bryant will have a new contract before the start of Thursday's preseason finale versus the Broncos, Silver said on Tuesday's edition of NFL Total Access.
Earlier, Bleacher Report's Jason Cole talks Bryant's potential deal:
Rapoport reported that a deal is getting closer:
#Cowboys & WR Dez Bryant have made some progress on a new deal, source says. Not imminent. “Up in the air” if it gets done before the season— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 26, 2014
#Cowboys & Dez Bryant are motivated to do a deal before the season. That helps. But if belief is he’s a Top 5 WR, will he get paid like it?— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 26, 2014
Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star Telegram has the latest on Bryant's contract negotiations:
The 25-year-old expects to be paid like one of the top receivers in the league, which he has become the past two seasons.
“I honestly feel like what I do, sooner or later, I’m going to get what I deserve,” Bryant said. “I believe it. That’s why I don’t stress about it. There’s no need to stress about it. It’s coming. I know it’s coming, so no need to worry about it.”
A new deal could come sooner rather than later. Bryant’s agent, Eugene Parker, and the Cowboys are in negotiations, Bryant said, and both sides are optimistic they can get a deal done.
Neither side ruled out getting it completed before the regular season begins Sept. 7. In fact, Bryant called it a “big chance.”
“I wouldn’t refute that. I just wouldn’t,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “I think that’s the best way to respond to that. He’s got a good sense of it. He obviously feels in the right circumstances he wants to get something done. We do, too. That can be good.”
“I believe a player should get paid what he deserves,” Bryant said. “If I’m top five, I’m top five. If I’m top three, I’m top three. If I’m top two, I’m top two. It is what it is.”
The Cowboys could use the franchise tag on Bryant, with the receiver tag at $12.13 million for 2014. But they would prefer to do a long-term deal. Earlier this month, Dallas signed left tackle Tyron Smith to a 10-year contract worth nearly $110 million with $40 million guaranteed.
“Do I like the wait? No, but do I understand the wait? Yeah, I understand it. I understand it clearly,” Bryant said. “But at the same time, the No. 1 goal for me is me out here with my teammates, going to war with them. That’s exactly what I’m focused on.”
Updates from Monday, Aug. 25
Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas provided the latest comments from Dez Bryant on his current contract situation:
Dez Bryant won't discuss contract until offseason if deal not done next week. "I can’t be distracted once I’m on the football field."— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) August 26, 2014
Updates from Friday, Aug. 15
Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News has the latest on Dez Bryant from Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones:
Jerry Jones on Dez: "I dont talk about these contracts in this particular stage. Lets just say we're working towards those kinds of things."— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 15, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, July 30
Stephen Jones spoke about the team's ability to sign Dez Bryant to an extension after the Cowboys' big extension with Tyron Smith (via Nick Eatman of DallasCowboys.com):
“That’s not the case at all,” Cowboys’ VP and director of player personnel Stephen Jones said Wednesday. “We can get Dez done now if we wanted to. We’re still working on getting him done.”
While it doesn’t sound as if the Cowboys are seemingly close to a deal with the wide receiver, it doesn’t mean they’re out of cap space now after Smith’s deal that will average out to about $12.2 million.
“We can make it happen,” Jones said. “We’re still working on it.”
Mike Fisher of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas added:
SJones said no Dez/Tyron pecking order. #cowboys couldve easily done other deal first— mike fisher (@fishsports) July 30, 2014
With Tyron Smith’s deal, it’s nearly impossible to do Dez Bryant’s extension now. Little progress anyway. He may benefit from playing it out— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 30, 2014
Chris Wesseling of NFL.com provides more details:
Appearing on Inside Training Camp Live, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport said he would be "very surprised" if Bryant lands a new deal over the next month. Sources close to the situation have told Rapoport there has been no real progress in contract talks.
Updates from Friday, July 25
ESPN's Tim MacMahon has an update on Bryant's contract situation:
The Dallas Cowboys have had several discussions with the agent for receiver Dez Bryant about a lucrative, long-term extension, but the sides are not close to a deal as the team opens training camp.
Bryant believes he has earned the right to be among the highest-paid receivers in the league, but he understands he likely will have to wait to cash in with a new contract. Coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance, Bryant is entering the final year of his rookie deal and is due to make $1.78 million this season.
"It feels good to know that things are being talked about, but I'm going to let it take care of itself," Bryant told ESPNDallas.com after the Cowboys' first practice of camp Thursday. "I feel like as long as I take care of business on that field, the rest will be taken care of."
Updates from Thursday, June 19
NFL's Marc Sessler provided a statement from Dez Bryant discussing his contract situation with NFL's Ian Rapoport yesterday:
It's not a distraction. Like I said before, the work that I put in, it will speak for itself; in the weight room, on the field and all of that. I go out for what's deserving and I'm just going to keep going out there working, grinding and let it come to me.
Updates from Wednesday, June 18
Dallas Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones has recently said it’s “a real possibility” that the team could sign Dez Bryant to a long-term contract extension before the start of the season.
But Jerry Jones was a little more cautious with his words when the subject was discussed during Tuesday’s minicamp.
'I don’t know that we have any issues relative to timing there, at all, with any of our contracts,' the Cowboys owner and general manager said.
Does Jerry believe the 25-year-old has done enough in the previous four seasons on and off the field to warrant a new deal?
'Well, I don’t want to get into off the field, at all,' Jerry said. 'But Dez, from the standpoint of his direct team activities, his preparation, his conditioning, he’s in better shape than he’s been. He needed to be in better shape as compared to the last several years. He certainly advanced from the standpoint of his route running, his awareness. All of that is a good thing.'
'He needs to continue to work on his conditioning, so all of that is very good. But I’m not at liberty or wouldn’t talk about anything off the field.'
Updates from Friday, June 6
John Machota of The Dallas Morning News has the latest on Bryant:
Dez Bryant on getting a new contract: "I'm not going to be sitting out and doing all of that crazy stuff. If it's deserving, it will come."— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) June 6, 2014
After a huge 2013 campaign, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant believes he's worthy of a huge new contract for his efforts.
The 2013 Pro Bowl wideout made his thoughts known to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com:
Yeah, I deserve it. I deserve it. I feel like I do. I put the work in. But I let that kind of stuff take care of itself. It is what it is. I let my agent talk about it and give me some feedback.
I'm loyal to the squad. I've always been. Me and my agent are going to talk about [a hometown discount]. We'll talk about it. You know, this is big. This is life-changing. Like I said, I've done everything asked of me, and we'll see what happens.
DallasCowboys.com posted a video of the interview:
Dez Bryant talked about a possible contract extension and more on Wednesday (VIDEO) http://t.co/EAvliAN11V— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) May 29, 2014
Bryant has certainly put up the numbers over the years to warrant talks of a more lucrative contract.
Kevin Patra of NFL.com provided more insight into negotiations:
Bryant hopes an extension comes before the upcoming season, and NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday night that the Cowboys and agent Eugene Parker have had very preliminary talks. Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Bryant is excruciatingly underpaid compared to his output. He is scheduled to make $1.78 million and a $250,000 workout bonus.
A team source told Rapoport the Cowboys are not against extending Bryant before the deal expires. He came to Dallas with off-the-field questions, and the view within the team is that he is improving and maturing but is not yet a finished product. Per Rapoport, the Cowboys are encouraged, but would like more time to see Bryant continue on this path.
The question is where in the pecking order, in terms of money, Bryant views himself.
Since 2012, Bryant is tied for the league lead in receiving touchdowns (25) with New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham. Bryant's 93 receptions and 160 targets also ranked him in the top 10 among receivers during the 2013 season.
The contract talks are also heating up due to the pending free-agency possibility for Bryant after this season. Adam Schefter of ESPN notes some of the biggest names in that potential class:
WRs scheduled to be free agents after this season include: Dez Bryant, Michael Crabtree, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Roddy White, Wes Welker— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 20, 2014
What should the Cowboys do with Dez?
Bryant has joined a class that includes Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall and others at the top of the totem pole when it comes to NFL wideouts. With a contract looming in his mind, the Cowboys certainly don't want to leave any reason for the Oklahoma State product to have any doubt as the season starts.
After locking up Tony Romo to a long-term extension last year before the season started, look for the team to do the same with Bryant. As for the price tag that will come from the contract, he might just get his wish given the numbers he has produced for Dallas.
With the Cowboys looking to return to the postseason for the first time since 2009, assuring Bryant of his future would be a huge move in the right direction. After all, what is a franchise quarterback without his star receiver?
That's a question Romo isn't ready to answer.
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