Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant has expressed his desire to get a new, lucrative contract extension before the start of the 2014 NFL regular season.
DallasCowboys.com's Nick Eatman reported on the development on Aug. 25:
"Last month, the Cowboys made sure to lock up their left tackle for more than a decade. Could it be time to do the same with their star wide receiver?
"Dez Bryant certainly hopes to get that deal sooner than later as he enters the final season of his original five-year deal. Bryant said Monday night following a sponsored event at AT&T Stadium that his preference is to get a deal done before the season rather than to have anything deter his focus once the regular season begins.
"'Once the season starts, I'm all in,' Bryant said to a group of reporters Monday night. 'I've got this team to worry about. The work that I put in, the love, the real love, the real passion that I have for this game overtakes everything. I honestly feel like what I do sooner or later, I'm going to get what I deserve. I believe it. That's what I don't stress about. It's coming. I know it's coming. So no need to worry about it.'
"Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he understands Bryant's desire to get a deal done and said it's a stance he shares as well as the two sides remain in negotiation for a new contract.
"'He's got a good sense of it,' Jones said of the negotiations. 'Obviously he feels in the right circumstances, he's got to get something done. And we do, too. That can be good.'
"As for Bryant saying he'd rather not do a deal in the middle of the season, Jones didn't sound too concerned.
"'That's not uncommon -- that makes all the sense in the world,' Jones said. 'I know Dez well. Obviously he wants to be responsible. It's a pleasure to have someone that their only focus to him and his family is playing football for the Dallas Cowboys. That's a plus for everyone.'
"'I'm talking generically, not with him, but in any negotiation, until the parties agree, then the other one in general don't know (why it's not being done). I can understand what he's trying to say.'
"While the Cowboys have been negotiating with Bryant for most of the offseason, other contracts with wide receivers around the league have likely raised the bar, and the price tag Bryant's group is looking for.
"The Packers signed Jordy Nelson to a four-year, $39 million contract while the Bears inked Brandon Marshall to a four-year, $40 million deal.
"Back on July 30, the Cowboys signed tackle Tyron Smith to an eight-year extension that is worth more than $109.7 million. That same day, Cowboys VP Stephen Jones didn't dismiss getting Bryant done this year as well.
"'We have the room to sign Dez today,' Jones said. 'We're still committed to that. We're totally committed to make Dez a Cowboy for life. Our plans from Day 1...figure a way to get Dez and Tyron extended.'"
Bryant made it clear he wants to be paid like the upper echelon of NFL wide receivers, per ESPN Dallas' Tim MacMahon:
"Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant wants to be paid what he believes he deserves, but he plans to table his contract negotiations with the team if he doesn't have a new deal by the beginning of the regular season.
"'I don't want to talk about it anymore,' Bryant said Monday evening after an event to announce the Cowboys' corporate sponsorship deal with Swiss luxury watch company Hublot. 'Put it behind me. I love this game. Either way, I feel like I can't be distracted once I'm on the football field.'
"Bryant, who is due to be paid $1.78 million this season in the final year of his rookie deal, and agent Eugene Parker have been in discussions with the Cowboys about a lucrative, long-term extension for months.
"The sides were not close to an agreement as the Cowboys opened training camp. But Bryant believes progress has been made and said there's a 'big chance' a deal could be struck before the Cowboys open the season Sept. 7 against the San Francisco 49ers.
"'We're in conversation,' Bryant said. 'I'll say that. We're talking. We are talking. It only gets better from there. Let's see what happens....'
"...Bryant, 25, who tied for the NFL lead in touchdown catches (25) and ranked sixth in receiving yards (2,615) over the last two seasons, has stated numerous times that he wants to be one of the NFL's highest-paid receivers.
"Detroit's Calvin Johnson is the league's highest-paid receiver with a seven-year, $113.5 million deal that has $48.75 million in guaranteed money. Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald also has a deal with an average annual value of more than $16 million. Seattle's Percy Harvin and Miami's Mike Wallace are the only former receivers with contracts worth more than $12 million per year.
"Bryant's asking price is in that range."
Bryant has caught for 4,104 yards and 40 touchdowns on 293 receptions in 59 regular-season games, per ESPN stats.