What does Dez Bryant's presence at Cowboys' practice mean?
Longtime NFL agent Tom Condon may need to explain to his client Dez Bryant how to execute a holdout. Only six days after an ESPN report indicated Bryant might be willing to sit out the first game of the regular-season against the New York Giants, the star wide receiver dropped by the final minicamp session Thursday.
If you can't stand to miss a minicamp in mid-June, what are the chances Bryant would miss the real deal? Jerry Jones and son Stephen know the answer. It's why they haven't blinked at Bryant threatening to skip a game. He might blow off steam via Twitter like he did Wednesday, but he doesn't have the resolve to follow through with his threats. It sounds like Bryant has been in touch with Jason Garrett throughout the offseason. And Garrett wanted him there Thursday to hear the coach's end-of-the-offseason speech. I'm sure it was a barnburner.
"It's great to have him here," Garrett said. "Dez obviously hasn't signed his franchise deal yet, so he's not practicing. He's dropped in really throughout the offseason program.
"Dez is a special guy. He's obviously a heck of a football player, obviously very important to our football team. His approach is really well respected by anybody on our team, the guys he goes against. He's got a great passion for the game, and it's great to have him here."
The Cowboys don't seem to have any sense of urgency with Bryant. Condon told a radio station earlier this week that he hasn't had any substantive talks with the Cowboys regarding a long-term extension since the start of last season. Jerry disputed that premise. But there's no rush to get anything done. Bryant wants a contract similar to Calvin Johnson's, but that's not going to happen.
Stephen Jones doesn't want to set the market with a lucrative extension to Bryant. It will happen eventually, but not before this July 15 deadline. Bryant feels disrespected by the Cowboys, and that needs to change.
Fans have a difficult time relating to a man complaining about a $12.8 million salary. Bryant could make roughly $28 million if he's franchised twice.
That's life-changing money. But he'll still lobby for the long-term extension. Garrett will handle this beautifully.
"Again, that's not under any of our control," Garrett said. "Dez is preparing himself to play football, and there's a business side of the NFL that's real. It's real for our team. It's real for every team in this league. I know Dez. I know his mindset. I know his mentality. I know he's working hard and hopefully we can get the business stuff resolved and he'll get back to playing football."
His mentality won't allow him to miss any practices in Oxnard next month. And that's why Stephen Jones and Jerry won't lose any sleep over this threat.
Bryant doesn't care enough about leverage to keep from spending time with his teammates. That helps define him as a player and a client. Condon might want to consider a Twitter gag order for the wide receiver.
I think Bryant believes his presence at practices might get the ball rolling on negotiations. But this will be on Jerry's timetable.
He doesn't think for a minute Bryant will skip a regular-season game. And Bryant's appearance Thursday probably confirmed that.
He didn't dare want to miss a Garrett speech. And who can blame him for that?
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