Cowboys hope to make push for Dez Bryant deal

IRVING, Texas -- By July 15, the Dallas Cowboys have to sign Dez Bryant to a long-term deal or the Pro Bowl receiver will have to play the season on the franchise tag tender worth $12.823 million.

While Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones has not talked recently with Bryant’s agents, Tom Condon of CAA and Kim Miale, Roc Nation, he remains hopeful something can be worked out but does not feel pressured to do a deal by the deadline.

“We know he will be a Cowboy this year,” Jones said after organized team activities (OTAs) on Wednesday. “If he ends up playing this year under the tag we will go right back to work again next year. Now would we like to get a long term deal on him? Of course we would. We’ll work hard to do that and I’m sure we’ll make a push at some point and see if we can make it work. If not, hopefully he will understand it’s difficult to make a deal at this point and he’ll come in and get ready to play.”

Bryant has not taken part in the voluntary offseason program but he has shown up to Valley Ranch on occasion, including last week when he went through individual drills in the first week of OTAs. Bryant is not required to show up at the mandatory June 16-18 minicamp unless he signs the tender.

Last season the Cowboys thought they were close to an extension with Bryant but the talks fell apart and Bryant eventually switched agents. Condon and Miale met with the Cowboys not long after the February scouting combine but have not been in much communication since then.

Complicating matters to a degree is the size of the deal the Cowboys and Bryant are thinking about as well as the unsettled wide receiver situations elsewhere in the league with Demaryius Thomas, who was given the franchise tag by the Denver Broncos, and A.J. Green and Julio Jones, who are in the final years of their contracts with the Cincinnati Bengals and Atlanta Falcons.

Deadlines can make deals, Jones said, but, “then some guys are at peace to play out a year and do what they do in terms of what the franchise tag represents. I’m sure we’ll continue to make some progress on that. I’m sure everybody is aware of that date.”