IRVING, Texas — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones last weekend confirmed a FOX Sports Southwest exclusive when he noted that Dallas had (during the week of Oct. 21), "thought we had something (a ‘Cowboys-For-Life” contract with Dez Bryant in the middle of the season . . . That didn’t work out.”
But now the revisiting and completion of such a deal faces a series of milestones and deadlines for the two parties — and some trepidation due to possible animosity as well.
If a "Cowboys-For-Life” deal isn’t done by March 2, the franchise tag will be used on the All-Pro receiver as a way to keep him from free agency. Bryant has voiced his displeasure at this concept, even though the tag can be the first step to a "Cowboys-For-Life” deal that then must be done by July 15.
If not done by then, the $12.8-million tag sticks for the year, allowing Bryant less security and negatively impacting the Dallas cap.
Indeed, March 10 is another milestone because the Cowboys (and all NFL teams must be cap-compliant on that day . . . and Dallas’ plan is to have shopping flexibility, not have almost $13 million committed to one star when under the terms of a long-term deal, the cap impact could be a fraction of that.
Jones says the club hasn’t recently negotiated with agent Tom Condon but did visited with Bryant last week.
"I can tell you,” Jones said, "I’m not that excited about the franchise tag with Dez simply because I’d like to have our agreement and our business in place for a long time to come with Dez.”
There’s another issue/non-issue: This supposed "incriminating video” of Bryant doing something dastardly, as noted by Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. According to rumor and urban legend, the Cowboys supposedly haven’t done the huge deal with Bryant because of concern over a mystery video — a myth blown out of the water by what you read above regarding the October dealings.
In an exclusive visit with FOX Sports Southwest, Cowboys COO Stephen Jones vehemently denies knowledge of such a video.
Jerry Jones’ take: "Right now, as to our basic approach to all of the contracts that we’re considering negotiating, off-the-field issues are not a consideration in any situation with any player.”
Yet the truth is . . . the words of the Cowboys don’t matter as much as the actions of the Cowboys. And with the mileposts and deadlines now on the horizons, the origin of where this "rumor" really came from is from doesn’t matter as much as where Dez Bryant believes it came from.