Bryant agrees to deal with Cowboys
The 24th overall pick wide receiver Dez Bryant agreed to terms on a contract, the team announced early Thursday evening. FOXSports.com’s Jay Glazer reports the wideout from Oklahoma State agreed to a five-year deal worth $11.8 million with $8.3 million guaranteed.
"This was very important to me to be able to get this done in time for the first practice," Bryant said in a statement released by the team. "I want to help this team. I want to compete. I can't wait to start playing football again."
Last year’s 24th selection, the Atlanta Falcons' Peria Jerry, signed a five-year deal worth $10.35 million with $7.55 million guaranteed. All first-round selections from 1-16 can sign for up to six years, selections 17-32 can sign for up to five years.
Bryant became the first of the 32 first-round picks from the 2010 NFL draft to agree to a deal. Coincidentally, his agent, Eugene Parker, represents San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree, the last first-round pick to sign a contract from the 2009 draft.
The uncertainty created by a lack of a collective bargaining agreement starting in 2011 is among the reasons none of the other first-rounders have signed.
"That's a big issue," Parker said. "Both sides had to be committed to compromise and be willing to see the other person's challenges and concerns and work through them."
Many league observers were expecting Bryant to report to camp late because of what happened with Crabtree last year, but that situation was much different.
Some with knowledge of the situation said it was more of an adviser close to Crabtree who influenced the wideout to sign later, not Parker's involvement. Crabtree, who was selected 10th overall, felt he should have been selected much higher and should have earned a contract commensurate with that belief.
"It's always been a good relationship with (Parker)," team vice president Stephen Jones said, noting that he represented two other recent first-rounders, but leaving out the fact both were a few days late to camp. "It's a two-way street. He's benefited, we've benefited. Nobody is trying to get the upper hand. You just want things to be good. He wants things to be good for Dez, and so do we."
A personnel source from a NFC team told FOXSports.com that Bryant was clearly the best receiver in the draft.
"He has an explosive release. He's a long powerful strider with above average speed," the source said. "He's super aggressive and is strong attacking the ball at the highest point. He has excellent body control. More sudden and rigid than smooth and fluid. He's also very good after the catch with instincts in space. Like all young receivers, he needs to improve route detail but this kid has very few weaknesses. He's a better prospect than Crabtree, but he's not at the level of Calvin (Johnson)."
Dallas traded up three spots in April to get Bryant. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gave Bryant No. 88, the jersey worn by Hall of Famer Michael Irvin and, a generation earlier, by Drew Pearson.
Bryant was an All-American in 2008 at Oklahoma State when he had 87 receptions for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns. But he played only three games last season because of his suspension for lying to the NCAA about his activities with former NFL great Deion Sanders.
In 27 games at Oklahoma State, Bryant had 147 catches for 2,425 yards and 29 touchdowns. He also returned 22 punts for an average of 19.6 yards and three touchdowns.
Dallas still has one more player to get under contract from their 2010 draft class, second-round linebacker Sean Lee. His agent, Mike McCartney, is the son of former University of Colorado head coach Bill McCartney.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.