IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones is not too worried about the threat of Dez Bryant missing regular-season games if the Pro Bowl wide receiver does not receive a long-term deal before July 15.
"If we're still in a franchise situation with Dez, I have no doubt that he'll be leading the way against the New York Giants," Jones said during the team's second minicamp practice Wednesday. "We just know how competitive Dez is and how much he wants to beat the Giants and how much he wants to support his teammates."
Jones is even confident Bryant will be with the team on its flight to Oxnard, California, for the start of training camp on July 28, though Bryant would not be required to show up for training camp if he does not sign his franchise tender. The Cowboys open the season Sept. 13 against the Giants at AT&T Stadium.
Players don't get paid until the start of the regular season. Missing a game would cost Bryant roughly $754,000 each week under the tag.
July 15 is the deadline for franchised players to sign a long-term deal. If Bryant and the Cowboys can't agree to a deal by that date, he would have to play the season on the franchise tag. There would be no financial gain for Bryant in missing games, but it is possible he could gain a guarantee of the team not using the franchise or transition tag on him in 2016. The Cowboys have a similar agreement with defensive end Greg Hardy, who signed a one-year deal in March.
Bryant took to Twitter on Wednesday to voice his stance:
Everybody voicing opinions..13 mil is cool but Where is my security? I'll wait ...5 years without complaining..So how am I selfish? #family1— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) June 17, 2015
Jones does not disagree with Bryant's position. He has maintained a close relationship with Bryant and said they spoke as recently as two weeks ago.
"I am sympathetic to it and understand it completely," Jones said. "And I would like nothing more than to have long-term security with Dez. Now that's where you get right down to it. We've worked together great for five years ... The fact that he's as substantive as he is relatively speaking to the way he came in the league, the criticism that he was taking, I was taking, is really rewarding. We've got more. There's more ahead. And he's, by the way, got a chance to be better in my view in the future. But we've got to get it all done to everybody's satisfaction."
Jones disagreed with the assertion made by Bryant's agent, Tom Condon, on SiriusXM Radio on Tuesday that there have been no negotiations between the two sides, but the conversations have not led both parties closer to a deal.
Jones said the crux of the issue is the allocation of salary-cap dollars, not cash, but acknowledged the $12.823 million franchise tag -- as much as a player may view it as a penalty -- is punitive to the team, as well. The Cowboys thought they were close to a deal with Bryant in the middle of last season when he was represented by Eugene Parker.
Bryant changed to Condon and Roc Nation's Kim Miale in November and there have been few discussions since.
The Cowboys have the space to deal with Bryant's $12.823 million cap figure. A new deal could lower that figure to roughly half, which could create more room to sign other players, like a Tyrone Crawford, or could be put to the team's 2016 cap.
Two weeks ago, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said the team would make a push for a deal before the July 15 deadline, but the team has remained steadfast in that it has to be the right deal. Without a long-term deal, the Cowboys could put the franchise tag on Bryant in 2016, which would pay him roughly $16 million.
"I have a good relationship with Dez," Jones said. "I know he, like the Cowboys, want him to be a Cowboy all of his playing career. We value him."