Dallas Cowboys’ All-Pro wide receiver Dez Bryant called Executive Vice-President Stephen Jones and told him he is prepared to miss training camp and games if a long-term deal is not agreed upon by Wednesday, July 15. Will this prompt Jones and his father, team owner Jerry Jones, to work hard to reach an agreement with Bryant on a long-term deal or are they calling Bryant’s bluff?
The Cowboys slapped the franchise tag on Bryant who is scheduled to make 12.8 million this year. However, since he has not signed the franchise tag yet, Bryant would not get fined for missing training camp. If he were to miss games, Bryant would forfeit $752,000 per game.
Why the Jones family would do this to Bryant is beyond me. There is no doubt he is their best player and the emotional leader of this team. As Bryant goes, so go the Cowboys.
After letting NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray move to division rival Philadelphia, the last thing the Cowboys can afford is to miss Bryant’s talents for even one game. With a suspect list of running backs on the roster and quarterback Tony Romo a year older, the offense will struggle offensively without Bryant.
The Cowboys’ defense will already be without defensive end Greg Hardy and middle linebacker Rolando McClain for the first four games. Putting a weakened defense on the field due to a sputtering offense are not the best ingredients to a successful season.
Bryant has proven he is one of the best receivers in the NFL, and he deserves the financial security of a long-term contract with a fair amount of guaranteed money. Yes, there were rumors of a video of Bryant in a shopping mall parking lot supposedly dragging a female on the ground, but nothing has ever come about. If this did indeed happen, something would have come of this rumor.
If I am the Jones family and my star receiver is telling me he wants to sign a long-term deal and retire a Cowboy, I listen intently and do whatever is needed to make that happen.
Remember when Jones played hard ball with Emmitt Smith who sat out training camp and the first two games of the 1993 season? The Cowboys were coming off their first Super Bowl win of the Jerry Jones era and Jones didn’t want to pay Smith 10 million over four years despite Buffalo’s Thurman Thomas signing for 13.5 million over four years.
The Cowboys were spanked by Washington 35-16 in Week 1 before losing to Buffalo 13-10 in Week 2. After the game, defensive end Charles Haley put his helmet through the Cowboys’ locker room wall complaining that Jones hadn’t signed Smith and were trying to win with rookie running back Derrick Lassic. By Thursday night leading up to a week 3 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, Jerry Jones swallowed his pride and signed Smith to a contract slightly more than Buffalo’s Thomas making him the league’s highest paid running back. All Smith did was lead the league in rushing and the Cowboys to their second consecutive Super Bowl title.
There is no guarantee the Cowboys return to the playoffs. They have a much tougher schedule this year by virtue of winning the NFC East. Drawing a line in the sand and making an example out of Bryant is not in the best interest of the Cowboys. He is coming off three consecutive seasons of over 80 catches and 1000 yards. Yet, it is Bryant’s ability to be a game-changer that Dallas would be missing with him not in camp or actually missing regular season games. Romo needs to sit down with his bosses and explain the importance of getting Bryant signed to a long-term deal.
And that’s as I see it!
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Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Scott D. Mikulski