Dez Bryant was set to become a free agent after putting together another Pro Bowl season with the Dallas Cowboys. Owner Jerry Jones stated that he will be a member of the Cowboys in some fashion in 2015, and on Monday the team reportedly used the franchise tag to keep him.
Continue for updates.
Jones Speaks on Possible Bryant Extension
Tuesday, March 3
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones commented on the prospects of signing Bryant to a long-term deal despite giving him the franchise tag, per SiriusXM NFL radio:
Cowboys Use Franchise Tag on Bryant
Monday, March 2
Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo reported that Dallas has used the franchise tag on Bryant. He added the following details:
Earlier on Monday, Tom Condon, Bryant's agent, spoke about the franchise tag and talks with the Cowboys with Sirius XM NFL Radio
On Feb. 28, Mark Lane of Fox Sports provided comments from Jones, who spoke about Bryant's contract:
I still think that it's probably, you know, would be a stretch to think that we would have something done by Monday and beat the franchise-tag deadline. Looks like we're eyeing a franchise tag on Dez, but certainly won't stop us from working hard to get a long-term deal.
David Moore of the Dallas Morning News added more from Jones:
“Well, I think Dez is a special player,’’ Jones said. “Obviously, he’s someone we don’t want to lose. We will pretty much cement that by using the franchise tag.
“Our goal is to, unlike what we’ve done in the past, is to hopefully keep working and get a contract done at some point. We want to continue to find a way to get there.
On Feb 25, Pro Football Talk reported that the Cowboys will use their franchise tag on Bryant "at some time within the next week."
On Feb. 17, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported talks have been at a standstill for months and the franchise tag was always the route Dallas would go.
Ed Werder of ESPN reported on what would happen if Bryant was given the franchise tag:
Jones Speaks on Bryant Talks
Saturday, Feb. 21
Jones talked about the Cowboys' desire to have Bryant back, saying that "off-the-field issues" won't impact negotiations, according to Rainer Sabin of The Dallas Morning News.
Jones also told reporters he wasn't looking forward to using the franchise tag on Bryant, according to Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News. Machota added more from Jones:
Jones noted as well that since Bryant had changed agents, they "haven't had timely or 'substitive' negotiations," according to David Helman of DallasCowboys.com.
Hill provided more details on the lack of communication:
Garrett Speaks on Cowboys Appreciating Bryant
Wednesday, Feb. 18
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett reiterated "how much the Cowboys appreciate Dez Bryant," per Lindsay Jones of USA Today.
Garrett said, "We love Dez. We believe he's the right kind of guy."
Cowboys Reportedly 'Don't Trust' Bryant
Wednesday, Feb. 18
Jason Cole of Bleacher Report reported on the Cowboys' approach toward Bryant as he heads toward free agency:
Bryant Speaks Out About Contract Limbo
Tuesday, Feb. 17
Bryant tweeted about his contract situation:
Rainer Sabin of The Dallas Morning News passed along comments from Stephen Jones, who confirmed that the Cowboys don't have a meeting planned with Bryant's agent yet, saying, "We haven't gone that far."
Jones also discussed the possibility of using the franchise tag on Bryant, via Sabin:
Right now all things being equal, it’s leaning more Dez with the franchise than it is not. But that doesn’t mean it will stay that way.
We don’t ever want to give up on a long-term deal. It’s something we worked on all of last year and it kind of cooled off once we got into the season. We’ll continue to see what our options are and things happen quickly as you go along. Things can go along with a lot not going on, but all of a sudden it happens.
Dallas, Bryant Reportedly Were Close to 'Cowboy-for-Life' Deal in October
Monday, Feb. 16
Fox Sports' Mike Fisher reported Monday that Bryant and the Cowboys were close to a deal in late October that would have ensured his long-term future with the organization. Now, however, the two sides are further apart in negotiations. Fisher added, via Scout.com:
Sources tell CowboysHQ.com that in the last week in October, the Cowboys were so close to a new contract with Dez Bryant that some of the ancillary paperwork was being drawn up. Now? The appearance of 'far away,' as the window opens to franchise-tag Dallas' star receiver.
Bryant Comments on Future with Cowboys
Sunday, Feb. 1
The two-time Pro Bowler was asked if he feels different this off-season because he is a free agent for the first time in his career.
"Regardless, I’m a Cowboy," Bryant said. "But it is what it is. It’s business. I am a free agent. I’m very confident that something is going to happen, something is going to get done, and have these Cowboys fans excited for a long time.
"I’m a Cowboy at heart. It’s Cowboys forever."
Bryant is hoping to reach a long-term extension with the Cowboys that would make him one of the game’s highest-paid at his position.
Bryant finished the regular season with 88 receptions for 1,320 yards and 16 touchdowns. The 26-year-old is clearly QB Tony Romo's favorite receiver and is widely considered one of the best at the position today.
Bryant Reportedly Will Remain on Cowboys in 2015
Friday, Jan. 23
Jones Comments on Bryant Again
Thursday, Jan. 15
Dez Bryant's status in Dallas got a little less clear Thursday when owner Jerry Jones made the following comment about the Pro Bowl wide receiver and also Pro Bowl running back DeMarco Murray, per Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News:
Bryant's value on the open market will be tremendous. As will Murray's, and that could very well leave the Cowboys picking between the two.
Jerry Jones Says Bryant Will Return in 2015
Tuesday, Dec. 23
Jerry Jones stated Tuesday that wide receiver Dez Bryant will definitely remain a member of the Dallas Cowboys for the 2015 season. Whether it will be due to a long-term contract extension or the franchise tag is now the major question mark.
Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram passed along the confirmation from the Cowboys owner, which came on his radio show (on 105.3 The Fan, per ProFootballTalk.com):
Joel Corry of CBS Sports noted what franchising the talented wideout could mean for his contract demands:
Bryant has put together another monster season on the outside for Dallas. He's racked up 84 catches for over 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns through 15 games. The Oklahoma State product has totaled more than 5,300 yards and 54 touchdowns in five career seasons.
Quite simply, he's one of the most dominant wideouts in the league. The Cowboys would obviously love to lock him into a new contract, keeping him in the fold for the foreseeable future. It's tough to imagine the offense operating anywhere near as efficiently without him.
But if a new deal isn't possible, Jones is already making it clear that he's not going to let Bryant walk away this offseason. It's not a declaration that should come as a surprise. Coming straight from the owner at this point in the year should calm any fears throughout the fanbase, though.
The situation should receive more clarity after the Cowboys' run comes to an end—which they hope is still a couple of months away.