ESPN – Dez Bryant says he would prefer to retire as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, but feeling respected by the franchise he plays for is a higher priority for the Pro Bowl receiver.
With Bryant in the final season of his rookie contract, that respect is measured in the money being offered to him during slow negotiations for a new deal.
“It’s all about respect. It’s all about respect,” Bryant said Wednesday. “I am a very loyal person, but just don’t test my loyalty.”
Bryant hoped to get an extension signed before the season started, but the sides never got close to an agreement. A source told ESPNDallas.com that the Cowboys’ best offer was a 10-year deal that averaged less than $12 million per year and included only $20 million in guaranteed money.
Four receivers — Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, the Jets’ Percy Havin, and Miami’s Mike Wallace — have contracts with average annual values of $12 million or more. Six receivers — Johnson, Fitzgerald, Wallace, Tampa Bay’s Vincent Jackson, Houston’s Andre Johnson and Kansas City’s Dwayne Bowe — have at least $20 million guaranteed in their contracts, all of which are significantly shorter than 10 years.
“I just know what I’m going to accept, and I know what I’m not going to accept,” said Bryant, whose rookie deal was for $11.8 million over five years. “I’ve been here for five years. You know, it’s not about the money. It’s not about none of that. I just feel like a little respect should play a factor in that.
There’s a lot of lines to read between when discussing contract negotiations. Neither side wants to show their hand and sacrifice any sense of control. When it comes to Dez Bryant, this is particularly true because of what he has gone through in his young career. As a college player and young professional, Bryant saw his name dragged through the mud because of immature, boneheaded mistakes that he made in his younger years. As a result, it seems like Dez has learned to choose his words very carefully. When you really think about what he says, though, these words always seem to speak volumes.
I applaud Dez Bryant for having (at this point) put his troubles behind him, and I’ve been in awe watching him morph into the BEST wide receiver in football this season. That’s no typo. Bryant has not yet peaked and he is still on par with Calvin Johnson, who is entering the later, injury-plagued stage of his career. Dez in on the verge of taking CJ’s shine and never letting go. This sentiment is of obvious consequence to the contract negotiations, but it is most important because Dez knows it. I believe him when he says that he wants to retire with the Dallas star on his helmet, but I also know that he is one of the most confident players in all of sports. He feels that he has put his troubles behind him for good, and he has no doubt that he is about to dominate this league for years to come. What Bryant did today was send a warning to Jerry Jones that if the Cowboys don’t show him that they TOTALLY agree, and desperately want him in Dallas, he’ll don new colors and show them how wrong they are.
Someone is gonna give Dez Bryant $12-13 million per year. My bet is it’ll be the Cowboys. For Jerry Jones’ sake, I hope he agrees.