Dez Bryant said he doesn’t want the Dallas Cowboys to test his loyalty in trying to reach a new contract extension earlier this week. Owner Jerry Jones responded by saying the team doesn’t want to, either.
“We’re loyal guys,” Jones said on his KRLD-FM radio show on Friday.
“Of all the players I’ve been associated with over the years, I’ve had a chance to probably have more personal interaction with Dez. ... You can count on us. If the hair gets short, there’s a little problem. We can count on each other to work it out. And that’s the way it’s been for the first five years that we’ve been together.”
Bryant and the Cowboys discussed a long-term deal back in training camp, but never reached an agreement. Bryant then said he wanted to table contract talks during the season, however, he has since changed agents and is open to negotiating again.
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Bryant is now represented by Jay Z’s Roc Nation, who has a partnership with Creative Artists Agency, and Jones said the two sides have “communicated.” It’s unclear if any numbers have been exchanged, although it’s known that Bryant feels he should be compensated as one of the top receivers in the league.
“That’s the best I could do there, but we have communicated,” Jones said. “And, yes, in a manner of what you just described: talking.”
Jones added that the contract talks have not become a distraction for Bryant or the team.
“It’s not a distraction at all. It obviously didn’t distract Dez, and it doesn’t distract us,” Jones said. “It’s a meaningful contract to the degree that it does, and will, impact our financial management of our salary cap, which a big part of what helps get a good team on the field. So, it deserves the kind of attention that we’re giving it.”
Bryant is in the final year of the rookie contract he signed as a first-round pick in 2010. However, he’s under the Cowboys control at least the next two seasons if they choose to use the franchise tag on Bryant. Bryant has said he’d be “highly disappointed” if the team went that route, but it’s certainly a feasible option if the two sides can’t find a middle ground.
The highest-paid receiver in the league is Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, who has a $113 million contract with $49 million guaranteed.