Dez Bryant remains absent from Cowboys OTAs, but in 'great shape'


IRVING, Texas -- As the Dallas Cowboys begin their second day of organized team activities on Wednesday, Dez Bryant not surprisingly remains working out on his own instead of at the voluntary sessions.

"He's working on the business part of his contract, working through this franchise player tag," coach Jason Garrett said. "We've been in communication with him. He's been in communication with his teammates. He seems to be in great shape whenever we've seen him but he's not been here."

Bryant has yet to sign the franchise-tag tender, which would guarantee him $12.823 million this season, in hopes of signing a long-term deal by July 15. If the Cowboys and Bryant are unable to reach agreement by then, he will have to play the season on the tag.

Bryant has been at Valley Ranch a handful of times this offseason to meet with coaches and work out, but he has not taken part in the official voluntary offseason program. The June 16-18 minicamp is mandatory, but since Bryant is not under contract, he is not obligated to be there.

The Cowboys and Bryant's agents have not had meaningful discussions toward a new deal this offseason.

With Bryant missing, the Cowboys have been able to look more at Terrance Williams and Devin Street as outside receivers and on Tuesday signed A.J. Jenkins, a former first-round pick.

Linebacker Rolando McClain is also missing after undergoing right knee surgery recently, but Garrett said the attendance at the offseason program has been outstanding.

"We believe in practice. We believe in our offseason program. We believe in meeting with the players," Garrett said. "We think all those things that we do to get our team ready helps everybody, individually, collectively and so they're missing that. Both those guys have been with us before, so I think they understand our systems of football, but it's better for guys to be here than not be here. But we understand that it's voluntary. We have a clear idea of where we are in the calendar year and we're very fortunate that we have the attendance we have really throughout our football team. We make great strides at this time of year individually, the younger guys, the guys returning and some of the new guys in laying the foundation."