Dez Bryant will become a free agent at the end of the season if he and the Dallas Cowboys can’t agree on a contract extension.
Bryant is at the end of his rookie contract, making $US3.14 million this season, and looking for a deal that would make him one of the three-highest paid wide receivers in the league, according to an ESPN report.
However, negotiations over the summer didn’t result in an agreement, and it appears Bryant is getting impatient and unhappy with how far apart the two sides are. Bryant gave an ominous quote about how he wants the extension to be handled:
“It’s all about respect. It’s all about respect. I am a very loyal person, but just don’t test my loyalty.”
According to the ESPN piece, over the summer, the Cowboys offered Bryant a 10-year deal that paid an average less than $US12 million a season, but only $US20 million of the deal was guaranteed. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon notes that such a deal wouldn’t exactly pay Bryant like the top-three receiver he thinks he is:
Four receivers — Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, the Jets’ Percy Harvin and Miami’s Mike Wallace — have contracts with average annual values of $US12 million or more. Six receivers — Johnson, Fitzgerald, Wallace, Tampa Bay’s Vincent Jackson, Houston’s Andre Johnson and Kansas City’s Dwayne Bowe — have at least $US20 million guaranteed in their contracts, all of which are significantly shorter than 10 years.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said, “We’ve offered him some really nice contracts. We also have to respect his views on where it is.”
Bryant referred to his own loyalty to the team in negotiating his rookie contract, saying he accepted the team’s offer, and showed up to training camp when a lot of people thought he’d hold out for more money. He continued, “You know, it’s not about the money. It’s not about none of that. I just feel like a little respect should play a factor in that.”
While Bryant says it’s not about the money, it clearly is. A few weeks ago Bryant joined Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports, much to the displeasure of Jerry Jones. Bryant apparently wanted to change agents over the summer after he and the Cowboys couldn’t reach a deal, but Jones convinced him not to. Jones is reportedly reluctant to do a deal with Jay-Z’s agency.
Jones said he wants to make Bryant a Cowboy for life, and is proud “like a daddy” at Bryant’s development on and off the field in recent years. Jones, to his credit, has been willing to spend money to help the Cowboys, but the looming extension for DeMarco Murray may factor in to how much the Cowboys are willing to spend on Bryant.
Both sides have said they believe it will work out over time, but Bryant’s ominous “don’t test my loyalty” will weigh heavily the longer the two sides can’t come to an agreement.
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