Cowboys Granted The Luxury Of More Time To Secure Dez Bryant’s Future


As we have known all along, wide receiver Dez Bryant will be with the Dallas Cowboys in 2015. That much is not a surprise. And neither is the news that broke over the weekend, that Bryant will be designated with the franchise tag.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones and the Dallas front office have stated for weeks that if a long-term contract extension was not struck before March 2 (the NFL’s deadline to franchise tag players), then the tag was waiting for the star receiver.

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So the fears of Dez Bryant hitting the free agent market come March 10 can now be put to bed. The franchise tag will now protect his rights and not allow him to test veteran free agency. And with that Bryant will not be able to gauge his worth on the open market. Rather, he will be paid approximately $13 million (the average of the top five salaries for wide receivers) for his services for the upcoming 2015 campaign.

But here is where we are now afforded the luxury of time…well, more time. About four months to be exact. The two sides will now have until July 15 to strike a long-term deal. However, if a deal is not reached by mid-July then Bryant plays out his one-year $13 million contract in 2015, and becomes an unrestricted free agent once again following next season…and the sequel to the Dez Bryant saga would debut accordingly.

If a long-term extension is reached, which is the ultimate goal of all parties involved, Bryant’s cap hit becomes much more manageable. The Cowboys would be happy. Dez would be happy. Jerry would be happy. Perhaps most importantly, the fans would be happy to see Dez in a Dallas Cowboys jersey for the foreseeable future.

So, as of this Monday, March 2, here’s what we know. Dez Bryant is in the fold for 2015. Beyond? We don’t know yet. Bryant will be paid handsomely no matter what, as he should. Dez will also not enter the free agent extravaganza next Tuesday. However, Dallas’ other marquee free agent will now undoubtedly be able to test those waters.

Since Dez Bryant is franchise tagged, then we know running back DeMarco Murray cannot be tagged, as the NFL only allows one player with that designation.

Come March 10 the bidding war for Murray’s services ignites with a vengeance. As Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones has stated, DeMarco Murray will be faced with a tough business decision.

And for the all the folks in favor of the “Bring Murray Back” campaign, I ask you to keep this in mind; assuming a long-term deal is not reached before July 15, Bryant’s cap hit would then be $13 million for 2015, Romo’s current cap hit is more than $27 million (assuming they don’t restructure his deal…again), and then Murray’s long-term extension would probably come at the expense of a $8-10 cap hit.

If you do the math, that’s roughly 35-40 percent of your cap tied up in only three players with 49 more mouths to feed. Just something to think about as we rev up for free agency. That’s why my gut feeling tells me that Murray somehow gets away. The dollars just don’t make sense to me to keep all three players. The business side is ugly indeed.

DeMarco Murray, the 2014 rushing king, was always the free agent in question. I think we all knew Dez would be back no matter what unfolded. So the third member of the No. 88 Club is locked up for 2015, with the added luxury of a few more months to lock him up for 2016, 2017, 2018…

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