Dez Bryant admired the new Hublot on his wrist, a parting gift from a Monday night news conference to announce the luxury Swiss watch company as a new partner of the Dallas Cowboys.
“Glitz and glamour,” Bryant said, repeating a Jerry Jones phrase.
The world soon will be Bryant’s.
The 25-year-old expects to be paid like one of the top receivers in the league, which he has become the past two seasons.
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“I honestly feel like what I do, sooner or later, I’m going to get what I deserve,” Bryant said. “I believe it. That’s why I don’t stress about it. There’s no need to stress about it. It’s coming. I know it’s coming, so no need to worry about it.”
A new deal could come sooner rather than later. Bryant’s agent, Eugene Parker, and the Cowboys are in negotiations, Bryant said, and both sides are optimistic they can get a deal done.
Neither side ruled out getting it completed before the regular season begins Sept. 7. In fact, Bryant called it a “big chance.”
“I wouldn’t refute that. I just wouldn’t,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “I think that’s the best way to respond to that. He’s got a good sense of it. He obviously feels in the right circumstances he wants to get something done. We do, too. That can be good.”
The end of next week seems quick, though, and Bryant said he would prefer negotiations cease once the season starts if a deal isn’t consummated by then. Football remains his No. 1 priority despite his desire to be paid like a No. 1 receiver.
“That’s me all day,” Bryant said. “I don’t want to talk about it any more [once the season starts]. Put it behind me. I love this game. Either way, I feel like I can’t be distracted once I’m on the football field.”
Jones understands Bryant’s stance completely, with the receiver wanting to wait until the off-season to resume negotiations if the sides need more time after the season kicks off.
“That’s not uncommon, and it makes all the sense in the world,” Jones said. “I know Dez, know him well, and he wants to have his mind on nothing but football. Obviously, he wants to be responsible as it pertains to his business, but it’s a pleasure to have someone that the only thing other than his family that matters to him is playing football for the Dallas Cowboys. I know he wants to be able to walk out there against San Francisco and not think about anything else. That’s a plus for everybody.”
Bryant, the 24th overall pick in 2010, is entering the final year of his rookie deal. He will make $1.78 million, plus a $250,000 workout bonus.
Seven receivers make an average $10 million a season, including four at $12 million. Calvin Johnson has the highest-paid average at $16.25 million. Bryant wants to be paid commiserate with those receivers — Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall, Percy Harvin, Mike Wallace, Vincent Jackson and company.
Bryant’s 25 TDs since 2012 are tied for first among all receivers. He ranks sixth in yards and seventh in receptions during that time.
“I believe a player should get paid what he deserves,” Bryant said. “If I’m top five, I’m top five. If I’m top three, I’m top three. If I’m top two, I’m top two. It is what it is.”
The Cowboys could use the franchise tag on Bryant, with the receiver tag at $12.13 million for 2014. But they would prefer to do a long-term deal. Earlier this month, Dallas signed left tackle Tyron Smith to a 10-year contract worth nearly $110 million with $40 million guaranteed.
“Do I like the wait? No, but do I understand the wait? Yeah, I understand it. I understand it clearly,” Bryant said. “But at the same time, the No. 1 goal for me is me out here with my teammates, going to war with them. That’s exactly what I’m focused on.”