Dez Bryant, Cowboys talk extension
OXNARD, Calif. -- The Dallas Cowboys have had several discussions with the agent for receiver Dez Bryant about a lucrative, long-term extension, but the sides are not close to a deal as the team opens training camp, according to multiple sources.
Bryant believes he has earned the right to be among the highest-paid receivers in the league, but he understands he likely will have to wait to cash in with a new contract. Coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance, Bryant is entering the final year of his rookie deal and is due to make $1.78 million this season.
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"It feels good to know that things are being talked about, but I'm going to let it take care of itself," Bryant told ESPNDallas.com after the Cowboys' first practice of camp Thursday. "I feel like as long as I take care of business on that field, the rest will be taken care of."
The Cowboys have a history of giving extensions to core players before their contracts expire. However, several of those contracts did not work out favorably for them, including rich deals for receivers Roy Williams and Miles Austin.
This year, owner/general manager Jerry Jones made a handful of offseason decisions designed to improve the Cowboys' salary-cap situation, the most difficult being the release of DeMarcus Ware, the franchise's all-time sacks leader.
Bryant, 25, who caught 93 passes for 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, wants to get a deal done as soon as possible. However, he knows the team has no urgency to complete a deal, with the Cowboys having the leverage of being able to use the franchise tag on him next offseason.
"We'll see what happens," Bryant said. "This is a business. That's the way I've got to look at it. I know that's the way they look at it. We'll go from there."
New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham and seven wide receivers -- Chicago's Brandon Marshall, Detroit's Calvin Johnson, Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald, Seattle's Percy Harvin, Miami's Mike Wallace, Kansas City's Dwayne Bowe and Tampa Bay's Vincent Jackson -- have multiyear contracts with an average annual value of at least $10 million.
Bryant has made it clear that he believes he's in that tier of playmakers and should get a contract that reflects as much. Asked Thursday whether he's a top-five receiver, Bryant said it wasn't his job to say, then added with a laugh, "But you know, there's stats."
Since the start of the 2012 season, Bryant is tied for first in the NFL with 25 touchdown catches and ranks sixth in receiving yards (2,615) and seventh in receptions (185).
Bryant, who is represented by agent Eugene Parker, said it's awkward for him to look at football as a business because his passion for the game is so strong.
"That's the point of me saying that I'll let it take care of itself, because I'm so confident and comfortable in my play on the field," said Bryant, who hopes to spend his entire career with the Cowboys. "I believe in, if a guy deserves it, he deserves it. I'm just going to keep on working. When it comes my way, I'm ready to sign my way on the dotted line."