Dec 9, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) celebrate after catching a pass for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys, Dez Bryant could sign long-term extension in training camp

The Dallas Cowboys have one of the league’s best wide receivers in Dez Bryant, and he is headed into the final year of his rookie contract. He is slated to make $1.78 million this year before being eligible for free agency, and the Cowboys could be looking to get a deal done before the season.

During a question and answer Twitter mailbag session with fans, ESPN’s Todd Archer listed training camp as a possible time frame for when a deal gets ironed out.

“Most often the Cowboys have gotten these deals done in training camp or early in the season,” Archer writes. “With Bryant entering the final year of his rookie contract, I would think that would remain true.”

It doesn’t come without hurdles though, the Cowboys have just $5.37 million in cap space, so signing him long-term could prove difficult. Aside from the tight financial situation the Cowboys are in, Bryant’s deal might not even be the first priority despite how talented he is.

“They don’t want him to go, but there is another factor to consider and that’s Tyron Smith’s future,” Archer wrote. “The Cowboys have picked up his fifth-year option, guaranteeing he will be with the team in 2015, but they want to sign him to a long-term deal. With him being just 23, that deal could take precedence.”

Archer also suggests that Brandon Marshall’s three-year, $30 million extension through 2018 with the Chicago Bears could be a bench mark for Bryant’s deal.

“To me, the structure of the deal is what will matter most,” Archer says. “Bryant will get his money, but I think the structure of it will be in the form of high base salaries as opposed to a big signing bonus and small base salaries.”

Also to consider is Bryant’s physical condition. Bryant said recently he is in the best shape of his life and at the young age of 25 that isn’t hard to believe.

“I am in the best shape that I’ve ever been,” Bryant said Tuesday, according to

“Trust me, I’ve been working hard,” Bryant added. “I’ve been working six days out of the week. Today is my off day, but I’m going to the facility right now. That’s all I’ve been doing. This year is special.”

If Bryant’s claims are true, and his production continues to grow and he has a “special” year as he promises, he could only drive up the price during the 2014 season putting the Cowboys in a worse situation than if they would’ve signed him to an extension before hand.

Tags: Dallas Cowboys

  • Old Frog

    I tend to fall on the other side of this argument. Rather than, “we need to sign him now because his price will only go up”, I favor the “let’s wait as long as we can because he might get injured or his production might drop or we might draft his replacement”, strategy.

  • SmartThinking

    Bryant is a natural born star at his position and the way he attacks defenses is why they two and three-manned him all last season. It’s actually a thing of beauty to watch him play.

    Of course, he, too, apparently has back issues to contend with. And then, there’s that temper of his (or is it now defined as a will to win?). His handlers say he gets frustrated. Don’t we all? There were a few instances last season where, if I’d been his coach and he didn’t shut up and sit down when I told him to, I’d have had someone escort him off the field. Even in the closest thing to a blood sport we have these days, there’s still a need for decorum.

    But, is he worth the money they’re paying him, and, the long-term investment? Yeah. I think so. I do know he’s fun to watch until he starts to embarrass himself and the entire Dallas team.

    Garrett, et al, have built an entire offense around Bryant. They’ve invested in Williams and brought in Street just to give him a chance at being defended one-on-one. I really don’t think Bryant would be Bryant on any other team. He appears to be the perfect act for big Jones’ Circus Maximus mentality.

    • JoeDaBeast

      Got to get someone in there to mentor him and show him the proper way to funnel frustration. Funny thing is, wasn’t Michael Irvin just as animated when he was frustrated?

    • Old Frog

      He’s definitley worth what they are paying him now. Have to wait and see if he’s worth what they will be paying him in the future. Exciting as he is, I’d feel a lot better about him if he didn’t have so many fumbles, drops, and route running mistakes.

      • SmartThinking

        Your point’s well taken. I haven’t checked but I wonder how many route changes, drops and/or fumbles can be chalked up to his near gridlock coverage rather than outright miscues or drops? Tough to run a perfect route with two or three guys hanging all over you.

        But, I’m certainly no Byrant apologist. He’s a WR and those guys hanging on him are his obstacles to overcome. When I begin to count on one hand the number of elite WR’s in this game, you know, the electrifying ones that make the catches and score the TD’s and shift guys out of their shoes on nearly every play, Bryant comes up on my list at number two or three.

        I certainly don’t want Dallas to mortgage the ranch to pay him. But, I’d also hate to see him playing somewhere else in another colored jersey.

        • Old Frog

          Although 3 fumbles is high, his drop % last year was only 3.8 which is very low. Unfortunately, like Romo’s interceptions, they seem to come at the worst time which makes them more memorable. Poor route running is hard to find a stat for. Mostly trusting Michael Irvin’s repeated comments on that. I’m more concerned about his back and 58% receptions to target ratio. Would like that to be at least 60%. Better routes would probably up that %.