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Finding middle ground on Dez Bryant deal

OXNARD, Calif. – It seems almost daily that pass-catchers are cashing in on new deals.

On Saturday, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson signed a four-year extension worth $39 million that included an $11.5 million signing bonus, according to ESPN Insider Adam Schefter. Earlier in the week, Roddy White signed a four-year extension worth $30 million that included $18 million guaranteed.

Last week, the New Orleans Saints signed tight end Jimmy Graham to a four-year, $40 million deal with $21 million guaranteed.

Where does this leave Dez Bryant?

ESPNDallas.com columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor wrote earlier in the week Bryant views himself as one of the game’s top five receivers, worth at least $12 million annually. The Cowboys don’t, despite what Bryant has done the past two seasons.

Nelson is 29. White turns 33 in November. Graham is 27. He might be a tight end by trade, but his production has been similar to Bryant’s, as I noted here.

Bryant turns 26 in November.

For those believing Bryant deserves to be paid the same $12 million-a-year neighborhood or more than what Mike Wallace got with the Miami Dolphins or what the Seattle Seahawks gave Percy Harvin after acquiring him in a trade, the situations are different. Wallace hit the open market. Harvin was in a position of leverage in the same way Roy Williams was in a position of leverage after the Cowboys traded for him.

The threat of the franchise tag looms in these talks. The Cowboys have gone down that road in recent years with Anthony Spencer (twice) and Flozell Adams.

For now, a deal does not appear close but things can change quickly. The Cowboys have used training camp in the past to get deals done with free-agents-to-be, like Sean Lee last year.

The Cowboys want to get something done. Bryant does not want to leave the Cowboys.

Finding a middle ground should start becoming easier now that these other deals have come in.