Jerry Jones has ‘no doubt’ Dez Bryant will be ready for Week 1

ARLINGTON, Texas

It’s getting hard to keep track of all the Dez Bryant speculation swirling around the Cowboys this week, and not a single bit of it seemed to bother Jerry Jones.

The Cowboys owner and general manager held court with reporters Wednesday morning at a minicamp practice held at AT&T Stadium. The first and most obvious talking point he addressed was the contract dispute with Bryant, who has made waves in recent days with his suggestion that he may sit out of regular-season games if he doesn’t get a long-term contract this summer.

Asked about it directly, Jones emphatically stated that he doesn’t think that will happen — regardless of whether Bryant gets a new deal by the league’s July 15 deadline to sign one.

"I have no doubt that when we play, if we’re still in a franchise situation, I have no doubt that he’ll be leading the way against the Giants," he said. "We just know how competitive Dez is and how much he wants to beat the Giants and how much he wants to support his teammates."

Jones is just the latest voice to weigh in on the Dez situation in the past week. Bryant himself started the news cycle last Friday, when he said there was a "legit" chance he’d consider sitting out games if he can’t get a long-term deal.

Team executive vice president Stephen Jones and Bryant’s agent, Tom Condon, added to the conversation Tuesday when they both appeared on SiriusXM NFL radio. It was Stephen Jones’ comments that raised eyebrows when he said there is a "big disparity" between NFL teams and receivers in terms of determining the current market.

Bryant is scheduled to make $12.8 million as the Cowboys’ franchise player this year — a one-year, fully-guaranteed contract. As has been noted, the All-Pro receiver would forfeit roughly $750,000 per week if he does sit out this year.

That said, Bryant took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to voice his side of the argument — which isn’t strictly about money.

That is essentially most players’ biggest concern with the franchise tag. It offers a big payday, but not much in the way of long-term stability if something were to happen — injury or otherwise.

Thanks to the wonders of technology, Jerry Jones was able to react to Bryant’s comment within an hour of it being posted. Given the pair’s close relationship, not to mention Bryant’s arduous journey up the NFL ladder, he said he was sympathetic to the problem.

"I’m very sympathetic to it, and understand it completely. I would like nothing more than to have long-term security with Dez," he said. "Now that’s where you get right down to it. We’ve worked together great for five years. I said earlier the fact that Dez is where he is, the fact that he’s as substantive as he is, relatively speaking, to the way he came into the league, with the criticism that he was taking, I was taking, is really rewarding. We’ve got more. There is more ahead. And he’s, by the way, has got a chance to be better in my view, in the future. Have to get it all done to everybody’s satisfaction."

That might be the case, but it’s hard to read that comment without thinking back to the remark from earlier, when Jones confidently predicted his star wideout would be on hand for the season opener regardless of his contract situation.

There’s still roughly a month until the deadline to reach a new deal, and Jones didn’t dismiss that possibility in the coming weeks. Still, the Cowboys have prepared for the possibility of keeping Bryant under the franchise tag in 2015.

For whatever speculation might come with it, Jones didn’t appear to be troubled by that prospect.

"Everybody wants as much money as they can get. I certainly understand that," he said. "But we’ve got to allocate the limited amount under the cap so we can put the best team on the field. And we can do that with the franchise."

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