Pro Bowl receiver and budding superstar Dez Bryant is going to remain with the Dallas for the foreseeable future. That much is certain.
But any notion that a contract extension -- guaranteeing his presence in a Cowboys uniform for life -- is imminent is folly.
According to multiple sources, Bryant and the Cowboys remain at an impasse regarding the structure, bonus and guaranteed money, making a deal before the start of the season unlikely, barring a miraculous change in stance from both sides.
Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones declined to characterize the nature of the talks after the team’s Kickoff Luncheon at AT&T Stadium on Wednesday. But he reiterated the Cowboys long-held stance of wanting to get a deal done to make Bryant a Cowboy for life.
“We think the world of Dez,” Jones said. “That’s what we want. He wants that. We’ve got to work hard at it.”
If the two sides don’t come to terms before the Sept. 7 season opener against the 49ers, Bryant plans to shut off talks until after the season.
“He wants to concentrate on the season,” Jones said. “We’ve got to respect that. We’ve got to have him to have a deal. If we don’t get it done before the season, we will get it done after the season, if that’s the way he wants to do it. We are not going to be worried about it one way or the other.”
Bryant, 25, is in the final year of his rookie deal and will make $1.78 million this season plus a $250,000 workout bonus. Bryant, the 24th overall pick in 2010, has developed into one of the league’s premier receivers, and he wants to get paid as such.
Seven receivers make at least $10 million a year, including four with deals averaging $12 million annually.
No receiver in the league has scored more than Bryant’s 25 touchdowns the past two years. He ranks sixth in yards and seventh in receptions during that time.
The Cowboys plan to pay Bryant commensarate to his worth. They just have issues with structure, guarantees and early outs to protect themselves in case the combustible receiver reverts to his controversial past.
Bryant has worked hard to move on from his past and has no intentions of taking a one-sided deal.
What’s true and both sides understand is that Bryant isn’t going anywhere and he will get top-receiver money.
The Cowboys have the option of using the franchise tag on him in each of the next three years. The receiver tag for 2014 would have guaranteed Bryant $12.13 million. That number will be slightly higher in 2014 and will go up 120 percent each year he is tagged thereafter.