WEDNESDAY, 7:43pm: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones met with Bryant this morning and an extension was discussed, tweets Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. However, the talk didn’t bring the two sides closer to a deal.
TUESDAY, 10:30pm: Michael Silver of the NFL Network says a deal could be struck between now and Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Broncos, writes NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling.
6:45pm: Talks between Bryant and the Cowboys have “intensified greatly,” according to Mike Silver of NFL.com (via Ian Rapoport on Twitter). He adds that it’s now clear that the team is ready to commit to Bryant as its franchise wide receiver.
9:19am: Earlier this month, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones suggested there was no need to accelerate extension talks for star wideout Dez Bryant. However, according to Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Bryant said yesterday that there’s a “big chance” the two sides work something out before the regular season begins, and Jones didn’t rule out that possibility.
“I wouldn’t refute that. I just wouldn’t,” Jones said. “I think that’s the best way to respond to that. He’s got a good sense of it. He obviously feels in the right circumstances he wants to get something done. We do, too. That can be good.”
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) also hears that Bryant and the Cowboys have been making progress on a new contract, though his source says it’s “up in the air” whether anything will get done by Week 1. As Rapoport adds in a second tweet, both sides are motivated to reach an agreement, but it remains to be seen if the Cowboys are willing to pay the 25-year-old like one of the league’s top five wideouts.
If no deal is reached within the next couple weeks, discussions will likely be tabled until after the season. Bryant is eligible for free agency in 2015, but it’s hard to imagine the club letting him hit the open market rather than signing him to an extension, or at least using its franchise tag. As Jones tells Williams, he has no problem with not negotiating during the season if the two sides don’t finalize a new deal by Week 1.
“I know Dez, know him well, and he wants to have his mind on nothing but football,” Jones said. “Obviously, he wants to be responsible as it pertains to his business, but it’s a pleasure to have someone that the only thing other than his family that matters to him is playing football for the Dallas Cowboys. I know he wants to be able to walk out there against San Francisco and not think about anything else. That’s a plus for everybody.”
Our Rob DiRe examined Bryant as an extension candidate back in June.