I definitely didn't think we'd be writing this today: The Dallas Cowboys have agreed to terms on a five-year contract with first-round pick Dez Bryant, according to ESPNDallas.com. The club announced the news late Thursday afternoon. Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com is reporting that Bryant will receive $8.3 million in guaranteed money, which is in line with what Vikings receiver Percy Harvin agreed to as the No. 22 pick overall last year.
In recent days, both the Cowboys and Bryant's agent, Eugene Parker, have been optimistic that they'd quickly agree to a contract. But a lot of us thought the fact the Cowboys were opening camp earlier than usual would hinder the negotiation. I'm sure Jerry and Stephen Jones' longtime friendship with Parker played a role in this thing happening so quickly.
"This was very important to me to be able to get this done in time for the first practice," Bryant said in a released statement. "I want to help this team. I want to compete. I can't wait to start playing football again."
There was some thought that Bryant would want top-10 money since he was widely regarded as the best receiver in the draft, but the $8.3 million is not in that neighborhood. Bryant has said he wanted to be in camp on time, and that's what happened. He had a reputation for showing up late to events at Oklahoma State and it plagued him during the buildup to the draft, but Thursday's news could help change the narrative.
His teammates and coaches will be excited to see the first-rounder show up for the first practice. I'll be there for Jerry Jones' and Wade Phillips' opening news conference in San Antonio on Friday, and something tells me they'll be even more excited than usual. If Bryant wants to win a starting job heading into the regular-season, he's off to a good start.
The Cowboys have a history of signing their first-round picks on the second or third day of camp. It's a big surprise the two sides agreed to terms while the majority of first and second-rounders around the league still haven't signed.
Honestly, the $8.3 million in guaranteed money is a little lower than I expected for Bryant. But if he's as good as the Cowboys think he is, this contract will get torn up two or three years down the road. I'll be back later this evening to let you know what Stephen Jones says about the agreement.
Update: Here's what Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones told reporters at Valley Ranch on Thursday evening: “You can make things difficult, but I think at the end of the day, the best thing that can happen to a rookie player is to get on the field right away. That certainly helps his long-term career, which ultimately helps his viability as he moves forward as far as future contracts are concerned. You get those contracts based on how you perform in your first one."
The Beast will provide reports from San Antonio beginning Friday afternoon and then we'll attend the Cowboys' first practice Saturday. Please stay close to your laptop or mobile device.