IRVING, Texas -- Dez Bryant believes he has earned the right to rank among the NFL's highest-paid wide receivers and hopes to sign a long-term contract extension with the Dallas Cowboys before the season begins.
"Yeah, I deserve it," Bryant told ESPNDallas.com. "I deserve it. I feel like I do. I put the work in. But I let that kind of stuff take care of itself. It is what it is. I let my agent talk about it and give me some feedback."
Bryant said his agent, Eugene Parker, has had preliminary talks with the Cowboys regarding a contract extension. Bryant is due to make $1.78 million in salary and a $250,000 workout bonus this year, the final season of his rookie contract.
Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones has declined to publicly discuss his thoughts on a potential extension for Bryant other than to make it clear that he considers the receiver one of the franchise's foundation pieces for the foreseeable future.
The Cowboys have a history of giving extensions to core players before they enter the final seasons of their contracts.
Chicago's Brandon Marshall signed a three-year, $30 million extension last week that made him the seventh wide receiver who has a contract with an average annual value of at least $10 million, joining Detroit's Calvin Johnson, Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald, Seattle's Percy Harvin, Miami's Mike Wallace, Kansas City's Dwayne Bowe and Tampa Bay's Vincent Jackson.
All of those receivers except Harvin have at least $20 million guaranteed in their deals, a financial milestone also met in the contract of Houston's Andre Johnson.
Bryant, 25, has produced at that level the past two seasons. Since the start of the 2012 season, he is tied for first in the NFL with 25 touchdown catches, ranks sixth in receiving yards (2,615) and seventh in receptions (185).
He hopes to spend his entire career with the Cowboys, who could use the franchise tag to keep him each of the next two seasons. Bryant didn't dismiss the thought of giving Dallas a bit of a hometown discount in exchange for the security of getting an extension before the final season of his rookie deal.
"I'm loyal to the squad," Bryant said. "I've always been. Me and my agent are going to talk about [a hometown discount]. We'll talk about it. You know, this is big. This is life-changing. Like I said, I've done everything asked of me, and we'll see what happens."