Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has put a deadline on contract negotiations: the start of the regular season.
Following a promotional appearance Monday night, Bryant told ESPN.com he will no longer discuss a new contract once the Cowboys kick off the season Sept. 7 against the 49ers.
"I don’t want to talk about it anymore," Bryant said. "Put it behind me. I love this game. Either way, I feel like I can’t be distracted once I’m on the football field."
Bryant is entering the last season of his original rookie contract and has established himself as one of the NFL’s top receivers.
He has has also put a series of poor off-field decisions behind him and apparently matured as an individual.
However, the Cowboys chose to reward offensive tackle Tyron Smith with a big contract extension ahead of Bryant this summer. Smith signed an eight-year deal worth $97.6 million ($40 million guaranteed) but the Cowboys say they have enough room under the salary cap to take care of Bryant as well.
If the two sides can’t agree on a new deal by the opener, Bryant will play out the final year of his contract. The Cowboys can always put the franchise tag on Bryant for next season, but obviously it would be less contentious to get a deal done now.
By establishing a deadline, Bryant appears to be wanting to accelerate the process.
"We’re in conversation," Bryant said. "I’ll say that. We’re talking. We are talking. It only gets better from there. Let’s see what happens."