The Cowboys have long hoped to reach long-term extensions with their two premier young talents before their rookie deals for Smith and Bryant expire after this season. They are halfway there after Smith signed to become the highest-paid left tackle in the league.
The Cowboys consider it a matter of when, not if, they lock up Bryant to a long-term deal.
“It wouldn’t have surprised me if Dez would have gotten done first,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “We’re working hard to do something with Dez. We’re totally committed to make Dez a Cowboy for life as well. Certainly in our plans from Day 1 when we started figuring out our cap this year was to figure out a way to get Dez and Tyron extended.”
Sources told ESPNDallas.com that Bryant and the Cowboys were not close to a deal when the team reported to training camp last week. Jones declined to say Wednesday whether he thought the team could reach a deal with Bryant, who is due to make $1.78 million this season, before the beginning of the regular season.
“I don’t guess on when things get done. I’m positive about it, but I don’t guess when things might get done.”
Jones said it was “fair” for Smith to ask to be the league’s highest-paid left tackle. That’s what it took to sign Smith this summer.
Bryant believes he deserves to be ranked among the top five highest-paid receivers, putting him in the $12 million per year range, which would be the cost of using the franchise tag to keep him next season. Jones declined comment when asked if that was a fair request, citing a policy to not comment on negotiations until they’re done.
"It feels good to know that things are being talked about, but I'm going to let it take care of itself," Bryant told ESPNDallas.com last week. "I feel like as long as I take care of business on that field, the rest will be taken care of."