Dez Bryant Issues Stern Warning To Cowboys On Contract Negotiations

Having seemingly overcome the type of off the field issues that plagued him early in his career, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, who has been one of the most explosive playmakers in the NFL for years now, is rapidly approaching free agency. And, as Tony Romo would almost certainly attest to, his timing is impeccable.

After being drafted No. 24 overall by the Cowboys in 2010, Bryant showed flashes of what could be his first two seasons in Dallas, but left many wondering if his promise was worth the problems he brought to the table. Three years later Bryant is poised for his third-consecutive 1,000+ yard season with double-digit touchdowns, and very few are still wondering.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones certainly isn’t, having recently told the Dallas Morning News, “I’m real impressed with how he’s evolved over the last several years, or we wouldn’t be in serious contract negotiations with him.” Jones added, “What we want to do is have an agreement for the rest of Dez’s career.”

Talking about forever? That is serious—especially since Bryant is just 26.

But as there so often is when it comes to anything Jerry Jones, there’s also a serious problem. He may be talking a big game about Bryant’s evolution, but according to multiple sources, including NFL media insider Ian Rapoport, his checkered past remains very much a concern in present negotiations:

“I went to the DeSoto (Texas) City Police Department. I found six instances of police coming to Dez Bryant‘s house — that’s where he lives, in DeSoto. Among the incidents — and none of these were convictions — there was a harassment incident, there was a robbery at his house, the fire department had to come and unlock his car that had a sleeping baby inside. All of these things give the Cowboys cause for concern. He’s had anger management; they have a manager with him at all times. But they are very nervous, and this is one reason they have not wanted to give him the guaranteed money that most elite receivers get.”

That explains why the team and Bryant’s camp are still pretty far apart on a number. Exactly how far apart is unknown, but earlier this week Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said that the organization has already “offered him some really nice contracts,” proving “nice” isn’t going to cut it.

“I just know what I’m going to accept and I know what I’m not going to accept,” Bryant told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “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.”

Apparently it’s so not about the money that Bryant doesn’t even have a number in mind. Much like “hard-core” pornography and former Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart, who said he couldn’t legally define obscenity, but insisted, “I know it when I see it.”

Bryant may say “it’s all about respect,” but when respect is quantified and defined with money, then it’s really just all about money.

Semantics aside, Bryant has every right to hold out for a number he likes. Not just because he is one of the best in the league at his position and deserves to be paid as such, but also because Dallas has an unfortunate history of throwing obscene amounts of money at far lesser players.

The only thing that is abundantly clear at this point is that Bryant has all the leverage in the situation—and he knows it. So maybe two things are clear.

“I’m not accepting what’s given to me,” Bryant said. “We’ll have to see. If it’s right, it’s right. I’ll sign my name on the dotted line. If it’s not, it’s not. … It’s all about respect. I am a very loyal person, but just don’t test my loyalty.”

Sounds almost like a threat, huh? Your move, Jerry.

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