11:26am: While the Cowboys improved their offer, it’s viewed as “still not great” by Bryant’s camp, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (Twitter link), who suggests the odds of a deal getting done are less than 50/50. However, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) wouldn’t be surprised if Bryant accepts the team’s best offer today.
10:33am: The Cowboys have increased their contract offer to Dez Bryant and are making a strong push to sign their star wideout, according to Ian Rapoport and Rand Getlin of NFL.com (Twitter link). Rapoport indicates that Bryant is “more optimistic than ever” about getting a deal done.
It’s not clear whether the Cowboys just increased their offer to Bryant today, but with about four and a half hours until the deadline, it appears the two sides are making a real effort to get something done and avoid the possibility of a holdout that extends through the preseason and potentially into the regular season.
According to Rapoport and Getlin, the Cowboys’ new offer to Bryant goes “beyond $13MM” annually, which still seems a little light. Over the last couple weeks, figures like seven years and $100MM have been floating around, and I’d expect it takes something in that neighborhood to get Bryant locked up. Still, the chances of an agreement being reached will hinge significantly on the guaranteed money in the Cowboys’ offer, and possibly the contract language that could void those guarantees.
A number of factors remain in play as this afternoon’s deadline nears, including Bryant’s threat to hold out and the NFLPA’s threat to file a complaint against the Cowboys and Broncos for collusion. If the two sides can hammer out a multiyear extension today, it would render many of those other factors and concerns moot.