The Dallas Cowboys elected to use their franchise tag on All-Pro wide recevier Dez Bryant on Monday. But according to NFL Media’s Albert Breer, that tag is non-exclusive, per a source who’s seen the paperwork.
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This means that Bryant and his representatives can negotiate with other NFL teams. But the Cowboys still have the right to match any offer Bryant receives. If Dallas elects not to match that offer, Dez would be signed by that other NFL team and the Cowboys would receive two first-round picks as compensation for his loss.
Bryant’s agent, Tom Condon, believes there are teams who will be willing to give up those two high selections for the talented recevier.
"“He’s a special player,” Condon told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday. “So if you’re picking late in the first round, let’s say you’re in the last 4-5 picks of the first round, and you know that Dez Bryant is a superstar, do you give up a very late pick in the first round this year and a very late pick in the round next year to ensure that you’re competing for the Super Bowl for the next several years? That part of it is pretty interesting.”"
Regardless, the Cowboys have given themselves options to retain the mercurial recevier. But using this tag also gives Bryant options. One of which is to elect to sit out the Cowboys’ offseason and regular season by not signing Dallas’ tender.
"“Unless Bryant signs the tender, which is worth $12.823 million, then he does not have to show up to anything,” Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com explained on Monday. “While extremely unlikely, it is possible Bryant could skip the first 10 games of the season, play the final six and still get an accrued season to his credit. The offseason workout program is voluntary, as are the organized team activities. If Bryant does not sign the tender, he would not be required to show up for the mandatory June minicamp, either, because he would not be under contract.”"
It’s not far-fetched to consider Bryant might holdout part of the season. The disgruntled recevier has been adamant in the past about not getting franchised tagged, warning the Cowboys not to test his loyalty.
Bryant could feel the Cowboys’ organization has been the source of the recent reports about his troubled past and an alleged video tape showing him committing some sort of discriminating act. Yet, Dallas has been consistent in the message that they want the talented player back.
Now that the franchise tag has been placed on Bryant, the next date for Cowboys’ fans to watch for is July 15th. That’s the NFL’s deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multi-year contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior club for the 2015 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game.
All this means is the summer of 2015 could be Dez Bryant’s summer of malcontent. Whether that turns into a season of malcontent is anyone’s guess.