The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly strongly considering using the franchise tag on wide receiver Dez Bryant, and that is not going to sit well with their star wide receiver. Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones talked about both of their impending, high profile free agents with the Dallas Morning News.
Jones is planning to meet with Murray's representative, Bill Johnson, this week, but expressed uncertainty about having a sit-down with Tom Condon, one of Bryant's agents and a big power broker in the NFL.
"We haven't gone that far," Jones said.
This news was interesting and indicated the Cowboys are leaning towards applying the franchise tag to Bryant - speculation Jones didn't attempt to squash.
"Right now all things being equal, it's leaning more Dez with the franchise than it is not," Jones said. "But that doesn't mean it will stay that way. We don't ever want to give up on a long-term deal," Jones continued. "It's something we worked on all of last year and it kind of cooled off once we got into the season. We'll continue to see what our options are and things happen quickly as you go along. Things can go along with a lot not going on, but all of a sudden it happens."
Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones has said that he would like to retain both RB DeMarco Murray and WR Dez Bryant this year, but the financials would be tricky. Dez Bryant obviously wants a long-term deal with some guaranteed money and he feels that he has earned it with his production since being drafted in the 1st round in 2010. The franchise tag for wide receivers is ~$13 million for the 2015 season, and a contract would likely give Bryant $30-40 million guaranteed. ESPN's Ed Werder and NFL.com's Ian Rapoport have both reported that Bryant will likely not participate in voluntary offseason activities if he gets the franchise tag.
"Well, he's not feeling the right vibes, then," Jones said. "We feel strongly about him. We worked hard to do a long-term deal with him, and we'll continue to work hard at it. If we don't get one, then [the franchise tag] just shows him how much we care about him [that] we don't want to expose him."
Bryant took to twitter this week and aired out some frustrations with Cowboys brass.
Dez Bryant using social media as leverage for a long-term deal? His Twitter activity the last two days is intriguing pic.twitter.com/uDRNGltXHr— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) February 17, 2015
What say you Mr. Jones?
"It's not like it's a bad deal for the player," Jones said. "They get a lot of money guaranteed day one, and it's certainly not a terrible deal. But who knows? We've still got weeks to go here before we make that decision, so a lot of things can happen. But I can say this: We sure think the world of Dez."
The Cowboys reportedly have no plans to meet with Dez Bryant's agents, but they will be meeting with DeMarco Murray's representatives at the Combine this week. If the Cowboys use the franchise tag, they will try to work out a long-term deal, but for now, there is some tension between their star WR and upper management.