6:55pm: The NFLPA letter to the Broncos and Cowboys doesn’t spell out specific transgressions but it does ask clubs to preserve certain documents and communications, Breer tweets.
6:04pm: Evidence of possible collusion between the Cowboys and Broncos stems from a conversation that took place between Dez Bryant and Cowboys COO Stephen Jones, a league source tells Mike Florio of PFT.
Jones explained to Bryant that the Calvin Johnson contract, which is the most lucrative deal for a wide receiver in the NFL, has no relevance to other receivers because of the unique circumstances surrounding those negotiations. Then, according to Bryant’s account (per the source), Jones told the receiver that he talked to Broncos GM John Elway about the situation. Because the Broncos also have a franchise-tagged receiver in Demaryius Thomas, the admission that Jones and Elway communicated about the situation constitutes evidence of collusion.
There could be significant penalties for the Cowboys and Broncos as the league’s collective bargaining agreement prohibits such contact. However, it could also be hard to find the smoking gun. Bryant could give testimony to support his claims, but if there is no tangible evidence of a conversation between Elway and Jones, the investigation might not get far.
July 15th is the deadline for franchised players to sign long-term extensions with their teams — if no agreement is reached by that date, a player who received the franchise tag will have to play on a one-year deal in 2015, if he intends to play at all. Given the relatively similar statistical production posted by Bryant and Thomas – as well as Bengals wideout A.J. Green and Falcons receiverJulio Jones, who are playing on fifth-year options this year – there’s been a sense that everyone is waiting for one team to extend its star receiver to establish the market.
The NFLPA letter containing the collusion claims against the Broncos and Cowboys went to the clubs today, Albert Breer of NFL.com tweets.