IRVING, Texas -- Like several young top wide receivers, the Cowboys' Dez Bryant is expected to become a free agent after the 2014 season. The Cowboys normally lock up their top players near the back end of their contracts but with the team cap strapped, projected $31 million over the cap next year, it might be hard to give Bryant a long-term contract now.
"Can't think about that kind of stuff," Bryant told ESPNDallas on Monday. "You tend to think about that you will mess up, you just can't think about it."
Bryant said he's "very" loyal to the Cowboys but "like my coach tells me all the time you got to focus on the task at hand."
The Cowboys haven't opened talks with Bryant's agent, Eugene Parker, but most likely will do something next year once it clears enough cap space. The 2015 free agency class at wide receiver is deep with talented players. There's Bryant, but Atlanta's Julio Jones and AJ Green are also free agents in 2015, unless they ink long-term deals before then.
Bryant's loyalty to the Cowboys is a positive, but don't take that as a sign he'll give the franchise a discount. His play on the field dictates plenty and he hasn't encountered any off-the-field issues that would give the franchise pause to give him big money.
The only issue is how much money?
It's never too early to talk about free agency because, well the Cowboys do on a regular basis. Next year, the Cowboys have a bulk of their salary cap space devoted to several key players such as quarterback Tony Romo ($21.7 million), defensive end DeMarcus Ware ($16.004 million), cornerback Brandon Carr ($12.217 million), tight end Jason Witten ($8.412 million) and middle linebacker Sean Lee ($7.5 million).
The team will restructure some deals to lower cap numbers, release some players, making wide receiver Miles Austin a post-June 1 cut saves $5 million, to possibly work a long-term deal for Bryant.
If Bryant does hit the open market, there's always the chance he could get franchised as well, the team did it twice with defensive end Anthony Spencer, his salary could hit the $10 million to $15 million average.