INDIANAPOLIS – As much as Dez Bryant would not be wild about the franchise tag, Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones is not too enthusiastic about it, either.
While the final number is not set, the Cowboys are looking at Bryant counting $13 million against the 2015 salary cap, which could hinder what they do with DeMarco Murray and their ability to sign other players to improve the team.
“I can tell you I’m not that excited about the franchise tag with Dez simply because I’d like to have our agreement and our business in place for a long time to come with Dez,” Jones said.
Jones said he is sensitive to Bryant’s reaction to being tagged but, like executive vice president Stephen Jones and coach Jason Garrett, he does not believe it would impact Bryant’s on-field work.
“I’ve never seen anybody just pout to the extent that they wouldn’t do it over this kind of money,” Jones said. “That usually is not realistic. It’s just too much money. And consequently it’s not set up or packaged the way that parties might want – and I want to emphasize again – it’s not really set up in our best interest at all. There’s a much better way for our future and our cap this year if we didn’t franchise, but this is here when you don’t have your meeting of the minds about how you want to structure something long term. And so if anything it’s in the right situation, it’s a placeholder for addressing it as you move through the future.”
The Cowboys have until March 2 to place the tag on Bryant. They would then have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal.
Jones said he thought the Cowboys and Bryant were close to a deal during the season, only to see the negotiations stop when the receiver changed agents.
The Cowboys have not had any detailed talks with Roc Nation and Tom Condon, who took over from Eugene Parker as Bryant’s representation last November.
“That didn’t work out,” Jones said of a potential deal during the season. “That’s not a criticism. It just didn’t work out. So from the standpoint from where we are there, we’ll just see. Contract negotiations are a funny thing. You shouldn’t measure progress by the latest visit or the fact that things are silent. It takes two, and when an agreement can be reached, it can be done in a matter of hours, and so you’ve got to be careful measuring any degree of interest, any degree of urgency.”