- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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Heck, the Cowboys can ensure he will be a member of their team through 2017 if they want to use the franchise tag in each of the next three seasons. It would be pricey, especially that last season in which he would be paid the quarterback's franchise tag price, but doable.
Ultimately the Cowboys and Bryant will come to an agreement on a long-term deal. Now that Bryant has put a deadline on the talks, maybe things start to heat up this week, leading up to the Sept. 7 regular-season opener against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Cowboy and Bryant's agent, Eugene Parker, have a long and productive working relationship. Anything is possible. The Cowboys moved pretty quickly to get Tyron Smith to sign a 10-year deal worth $110 million in March.
Bridging the gap between what the Cowboys believe Bryant is (a top-10 receiver) and what Bryant believes he is (top three?) has taken some time. The Cowboys aren't afraid to pay players, as evidenced by Smith's contract, but they want to have some protections in place should things not work out.
For all of the maturation Bryant has shown on and off the field there has to be some concern among the Cowboys' front office that when the phone rings at 2 a.m. something has happened with Bryant. If they didn't have that worry, this deal would have been done by now.
With Smith, the Cowboys felt more than comfortable giving him $40 million guaranteed, especially considering they can get out of the deal after two years at minimal cost.
The Cowboys don't doubt Bryant will have a big year in 2014. If it costs them more money to sign him in 2015, then so be it.
But remember, Bryant isn't going anywhere anytime soon.