For Cowboys, Dez Bryant it's more than just paying that man his money

IRVING, Texas -- As Wednesday's 4 p.m. deadline for Dez Bryant to sign a long-term deal approaches, there is a loud call for the Dallas Cowboys to simply pay the uber-talented wide receiver.

A lot of people have gone Teddy KGB from Rounders on us, using John Malkovich’s famous, "Pay that man his money" line.

Rob Lowe, noted Cowboys fan and someone who has attended training camp on a few occasions, chimed in via Twitter on Monday.

It is a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t the Cowboys want to keep Bryant? He led the NFL in touchdown catches last season, establishing a team single-season record with 16. He has had more than 80 catches and 1,200 yards the past three seasons.

At times it seems as if he was able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and has no Kryptonite (although sometimes Washington Redskins corner DeAngelo Hall can give him some trouble).

Without a salary cap there is no doubt Bryant would have the long-term contract he desires. Without a salary cap DeMarco Murray wouldn’t be with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cowboys probably could have landed Darrelle Revis, too.

But "paying that man his money" is not that simple.

There is a salary cap. It is real. There are down-the-road ramifications that need to be factored in on every deal.

The Cowboys have changed their business model in recent years. Every big deal they have signed, with the exception of Tony Romo's contract, has been "team friendly." Sean Lee's deal has some built-in insurance in case he gets hurt so the team would not be on the hook for big money if he can’t play. Tyron Smith's contract included $40 million in guarantees, but the length and total money of the deal had many across the league viewing it as a Cowboys' win.

Even the smaller deals the Cowboys have signed in recent years, like Rolando McClain, Henry Melton, Anthony Spencer and Jasper Brinkley were advantageous to the Cowboys.

For years the Cowboys were criticized for overpaying players or doling out contracts to players before they needed to do something. Terrell Owens' second contract with the Cowboys comes to mind, as do the deals for Roy Williams (the receiver) and Miles Austin.

The Cowboys would not budge from their $6 million a year offer to Murray after he ran for 1,845 yards. Part of it was analytics, part of it was the belief in their offensive line, part of it was the position Murray plays.

They let him go to the Philadelphia Eagles without moving much on their offer.

"Everyone understands how this cap thing works," owner and general manager Jerry Jones said during the June minicamp. "The real responsibility here, as far as my shoes are concerned, or as far as the organization is concerned, is to allocate a fixed amount of money between the players that get it. So you literally do have money that one player gets that others don’t. So you’ve got to basically continue to strive for any individual situation as it relates to the whole team and what you’re spending on the whole team. That’s the art of the deal here, and that’s why you have the management issue regarding whether you can go this long, this much and for these terms. It has to do with the allocation of the dollars under the cap."

The Cowboys’ decisions of today will have ramifications two, three, four, five years down the road. Though the cap continues to go up, they have to be mindful of other players who will be hitting free agency, the ballooning cap figure of Romo and other unforeseen issues.

Maybe in the past the Cowboys wouldn’t have been so aware of the cap or would be more willing to structure a contract in a way that would keep forcing them to re-work the money to create room, which is something that ultimately led to the release of DeMarcus Ware after the 2013 season.

The Cowboys want to keep Bryant. They don’t want to lose him to another team. But they are not inclined to give him everything he wants no matter how much he has improved.

Bryant deserves to be paid among the best receivers in the NFL. He has every right to do what he’s done and threaten what might happen in order to make the best deal for him.

Perhaps there will be movement by Wednesday’s deadline, but it’s more complicated than just saying, "Pay that man his money."