It’s Time For The Dallas Cowboys To Pay Dez Bryant


Last year, during the first mandatory mini-camp, wide receiver Dez Bryant was pretty clear about his desire to get a long-term deal done as he was set to enter the 2014 season, working on the last year of his rookie contract. At the time, Bryant was clear that he felt he deserved it but he was also quite amicable when it came to letting the business side not have an effect on his play.

Push the calendar forward almost exactly one year as the 2015 mandatory mini-camp takes place today and you’ll see a lot of the guys out there that were responsible for this team exceeding expectations last season on their way to a 12-4 division winning record.

Who you won’t see is Dez Bryant.

For whatever reasoning no one outside the two man show of owner Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones knows, this is still a topic of conversation more than 365 days after it began.

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You will read and hear about the silly semantics of “not wanting to set the market” and “wanting to be fair to Dez while maintaining the necessary financial structure.” Everything you read makes it sound like the Joneses want Bryant to be a Cowboy for life and that Dez wants that too.

Too bad neither of them wants to be the first one to extend that proverbial olive branch too far.

The problem is that it is not the responsibility for the player to lessen his worth.  Bryant has a finite amount of time to earn the most money possible.  If Jones does not think it’s financially prudent to assist in this venture, I’m pretty sure there are 31 other franchises who would love to do so.

In regards to the talk of not wanting to set the market with Bryant’s new contract, I recently researched the ten highest paid wide receivers and what their deals looked like.  Four of the top ten signed their contracts right before the 2014 season or after.

How are you setting the market when four other guys have all had fresh deals in just one season’s time?

Green Bay Packers’ receivers Jordy Nelson (four years, $39M, $11.5M guaranteed) and Randall Cobb (four years, $40M, $13M guaranteed), along with the New York Giants’ Victor Cruz (five years, $43M ,$15.6M guaranteed) all make about the same money.

New Kansas City Chiefs’ wide out Jeremy Maclin scored a five-year deal worth $55M total and $22.5M guaranteed from his former coach who now presides over a team with a desperate need at his position.

Dez is younger than all of them besides Cobb and better than all of them. Period.

If you average those four deals, that would mean the bottom range for a new deal for Dez would be in the neighborhood of five years for $44M and $16M guaranteed.

Only one of the ten highest paid receivers has a deal longer than five years and he happens to also be the highest paid of all. Detroit Lions star receiver Calvin Johnson signed a seven-year extension back in 2012. That deal was worth $113M, almost $50M of which is guaranteed. In the two seasons since he signed that deal, Johnson has posted the first ever back-to-back statistically regressive output of his career.

Logically, that would be the ceiling of which you would not be comfortable reaching if you’re the Cowboys organization.

Here’s where it gets tricky though. Not only is Bryant younger than every other receiver in the top ten besides Cobb, he’s also the one of only three current receivers with three straight 1,000+ yard, double-digit touchdown seasons in his career.

One player who has previously accomplished that feat is Arizona Cardinals’ receiver Larry Fitzgerald. He is the oldest player of those highest paid.  After his third season of 1,000+ yards, 10+ touchdowns, he never posted those numbers again.

The other is Denver Broncos star Demaryius Thomas. He is also been given the franchise tag and is holding out at this time as well.

I believe it’s a fair question for the Broncos to wonder if Thomas is in this rare air due to their style of play and his quarterback. Prior to the arrival of quarterback Peyton Manning, Thomas never had more than 35 receptions, 600 yards or five touchdowns.

Prior to Bryant’s three straight 1,000+ yards, 10+ touchdowns seasons he finished with 63 catches for 928 yards and 9 TD’s.  It’s not a fluke in his case.

Factor in his leadership skills, work ethic and the unquestioned fire and intensity he brings and it would be foolish to wait and use whatever negotiating tactics the Broncos employ with Thomas to keep Bryant twisting in the wind.

It’s time to stop playing around.  After the comments made by Dez stating he would miss time if a new deal isn’t done, it’s clear he’s done with it as well.  If it was another player of lesser importance or this was a brand new issue, my stance might be different.  Three hundred, sixty-five days and counting is enough.

Do the deal.

Six years, worth $65 million and $35M in guaranteed money.  That’s more than everyone else but Megatron. If Bryant balks at that, then you can play hardball all you like.  The Cowboys are on the verge of something really special.  It would be a colossal mistake to jeopardize that by alienating one of the reasons you’re this close.

Get the deal done.

Next: Dallas Cowboys Must Make The Development Of Dustin Vaughan A Priority