Dez Bryant should play the franchise-tag game with Cowboys


Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant wisely has resisted signing a long-term contract that ties him to the team but doesn’t tie to the team to him because the offers the team has made don’t contain significant guaranteed money.  And now that it appears inevitable the Cowboys will use the franchise tag on Bryant, owner Jerry Jones has begun making the case to the media and the fans that Dez should be thrilled by the gesture.

I’ve never seen anybody just pout to the extent that they wouldn’t do it over this kind of money,” Jones recently said, as MDS noted earlier today. “That usually is not realistic. It’s just too much money.”

It’s a lot of money, but it’s far less fully guaranteed money than Bryant believes he’s worth.  And it’s not the kind of life-changing payday Bryant believes he’s earned.  For whatever reason, the Cowboys aren’t willing to make Bryant an offer that would pay him $30 million or more fully guaranteed at signing.

So if the Cowboys want to play tag with Bryant, he should play tag with them.  Here’s how.

First, he shouldn’t sign the tender right away, giving other teams a chance to decide whether to sign him to an offer sheet that, if not matched by the Cowboys, would send a pair of first-round picks to Dallas and get Bryant a new home.  Some think only a franchise quarterback would justify the sacrifice of two first-round picks.  Considering, however, that the Bills gave up the ninth pick in 2014, a first-round pick in 2015, and a fourth-round pick in 2015 to get unproven rookie Sammy Watkins, maybe there’s a G.M. out there sufficiently desperate to make a move for Dez.

Second, if no offer sheet comes in March or April, Dez should sign the tender in early May.  And then he should boycott all voluntary offseason workouts.  He should also consider staying away from the mandatory minicamp, since the fine would be a small piece of the $13 million or more he’ll earn under the franchise tag.

Third, he should buy a disability policy protecting him against serious injury in 2015.

Four, he should show up for training camp, have a big season, and prepare to do it all over again in 2016.  If the Cowboys want to tag him again, he’ll be eligible for a 20-percent raise.  If the franchise tender for receivers ends up at $13 million, he’d be entitled to $15.6 million with second application of the tag.

Fifth, he should repeat steps one through four.  At that point, the Cowboys surely won’t use the tag for a third time, since the rules require a 44-percent raise.  At $13 million this year and $15.6 million in 2016, that would trigger a $22.464 million salary in 2017.

So if the Cowboys don’t want to fully guarantee at least $28.6 million (the sum of the 2015 and 2016 franchise tags) on a long-term deal, Bryant should tell the Cowboys, “Fine.  Give me the tag.  I won’t pout now.  But you may be pouting later.”

48 responses to “Dez Bryant should play the franchise-tag game with Cowboys

  1. as a cowboys fan wouldnt hate 2 1st round picks, esp if dez wants more than 15 mil a year…otherwise its gonna happen mike, quit hating

  2. You forgot:
    1: Do not play injured
    2. Do not play hurt (less than 95% of full capacity)
    3. Do not be afraid to question the logic of decisions made by the organization. (ie if they let Murray go and don’t replace his production, when asked say “I do not know why they didn’t want a great player like Murray. You have to ask the owners and GM what they were thinking.”)
    4. Do not do anything extra in the community unless it is for your or someone you knows charity. (No charity basketball etc)
    5. Max out your ad revenue as this might be your last season in Dallas.

  3. Sammy Watkins is different: he wasn’t a full-on diva yet.

    Seahawks showed what happens when you bet the farm on a full-on diva: you lose some valuable picks and a ton of money.

  4. I doubt anyone is going to give up two firsts AND a huge contract for Dez. Sammy Watkins is on a cheap rookie contract. If he was the unanimous best receiver in the league and was nothing but mature then maybe, but while I’d put him in my top 5 in the league today, I wouldn’t fault someone else if they didn’t and his decision making and maturity are…..suspect.

  5. Patriots should let Revis walk. Give up the two first round picks ( They’re always at the end of the first round anyway ) Give Dez to Brady along with Gronk. Brady will put up 50 points /game. 2 or 3 more rings.

  6. 13.0 million and 15.6 million. Paychecks so high, makes you wanna slap your momma!!!
    Oh wait…………

  7. Wow, it’s amazing how mean-spirited people can be. That’s the only explanation for this post.

    It makes Bryant almost sound like a victim and the Dallas organization like some evil overlords. People like to say “it’s a business” but THAT IS A LOAD OF MALARKEY. It’s a SALARY CAP SPORT and as long as it continues to be one teams must balance risk and reward.

    Up until now, Bryant and Dallas have been on the same team. Dallas took a big risk on Bryant and has worked really hard to help keep him on the straight and narrow. Bryant likewise has been professional and focused. So far, so good.

    But Bryant comes with risks. He owes it to the organization to offer them up some protection, which would simultaneously serve as extra impetus for Bryant to continue his good professionalism. Likewise, Dallas owes it to Bryant to set him up to get his deserving BIG paydays if and when he continues to earn them.

    Playing chicken doesn’t help Bryant OR Dallas. Working for every guaranteed cent possible would only burn positive bridges and, if anything, sets up Bryant for MORE failure and future lost earnings, not less.

    It almost sounds as if Mr. Florio WANTS Bryant to tell Dallas to “go screw”. Why? What good does that do anyone, or the sport? And what has Dallas done to deserve that, outside of ask for slightly more insurance than per usual from a player who definitely merits being a little more careful with? It makes sense for Bryant to take some less guaranteed money but plenty of short-term, non-guaranteed money. Keep up the good work, get paid. Don’t keep up the good work, and you don’t deserve to squat on a massive sum of money ala Albert Haynesworth.

    Hateful post. Just plain hateful. And not AT ALL in Bryant’s best interests.

  8. If I were Bryant, you can bet the farm that I would do exactly as listed. Then, on year three I would be gone to any NFC team that would pay my price. That way, he can always remind the team what they gave away.

    Of course, he has to stay away from trouble for three years, but I would become a workout hermit for three years if I had the chance at 100 million cash (two years with Dallas and a 4 year contract with the next team).

  9. What part of “have a big season” would be bad for the Cowboys?

    The media really, really want there to be an acriminous fight between Dez and Dallas. I don’t think that is going to happen. If anything its Dez’s new representation that is causing the probelms, not the cowbooys. They have ignored repeated requests to talk and don’t seem to be in any hurry at all to talk about a deal. Why would that be?

  10. Salary caps. What a joke. How about profit caps for the owners? Or beer price caps for the fans?

    Take the money and run your mouth non stop to the media all year. Dog it in practice. Get in shouting matches with that idiot Garret. Tell the media you think Jerry sexually assaulted those chicks. Just make it a miserable year for everyone in Dallas.

  11. Contract games in the media…
    Every footballer wants guaranteed money, and every team does not want to give it. Jerry is his own worst enemy…spewing rhetoric is really going to help contract talks. I am not saying Dez is worth squat, but if you want somebody to be productive, slamming him in press is not helpful. And in the contract world, it isn’t helpful to give the other a tell.

  12. Geniusry says: Feb 22, 2015 5:00 PM

    This is why Jay Z shouldn’t be involved in sports.

    I agree completely. This situation and the one with Suh and the Lions are playing out in a very similar manner. It’s pretty clear what the plan is for them at this point. They are all about the cash. That’s fine, but the marketing dollars come from visibility and image (and both guys need image work to increase their marketability), which is greatly helped by winning, and playoff success. For that, teams need to be able to field competitive squads, so these guys have a lot to learn in sports with hard caps.

  13. Yeah, I’m pretty sure dez acting unprofessionally, per your advice, would work out well for him.

    It’d make him look like a diva and hurt his image. If he is truly worth the money, then he’ll show up to work with his teammates to prepare for the season properly. If he doesn’t, then he’s not “the right kind of guy” (per Jason Garrett’s philosophy), will be franchised twice, and be gone from Dallas.

    If dez was truly dedicated to dallas, he’d take a deal so his team could resign demarco and build on what they’ve done so far. Playing on Super Bowl caliber teams and winning will do more for his bank account than 5-10 million extra of guaranteed money. Especially if he’s doing it for the most watched team in the NFL.

  14. Tag him and there’ll be about fifty cents to sign a RB, whether its Murray, AP or the second coming of Emmit Smith.

  15. Dez has earned a monster salary with his performance. He is widely considered a top 5 wr talent and is coming off a rookie contract that was capped per the cba. If Dallas is trying to squeeze him into a contract that allows them to cut him at any point with little guaranteed then I would advise him to do exactly what Florio has. By the way he is not under contract so he can wait as long as possible to sign the tag. Each year he plays on the tag he should demand even more gauranteed money up front for a long term deal.

    And those that seem to want him to sign any bull contract Jones throws at need to be quiet. You guys will be the first ones asking why he signed the contract if he isn’t happy with it 2 years down the road. Now is his first chance to negotiate a contract without being capped by the CBA and he should should shoot for as much as he can get.

  16. Dez will be signed to a big, long term contract by July. There is nothing to see here folks. (he will get tagged first but it will play out like Jimmy Graham’s situation last year)

  17. This may not be popular amongst my own reams fan base, but, I think Dez the last 2 years has pretty much earned the big deal. I’m not saying he’s fitz but I think he has proved he’s not Owens.

    Also if I am a team like the pats or packers the Seahawks or any other top team who needs a number 1 WR and knows both picks will be end of the first round I would trade for Dez in one second. Dez Bryant as a final piece is worth way more than any two late round picks. Especially if your QB is Brady’s age

  18. Wait until after the draft and see if anybody decides to go all in. They’d know where their cap room is & where Dallas’ cap room would be and make an offer Dallas wouldn’t be able to match without blowing up their roster

  19. hey Mike Florio, if you want to pay DEZ who does deserve a new contract maybe you can fork over the $30 MILLION Guaranteed so my Cowboys may use other funds to fix what ails this team!! (DEFENSE, DEFENSE)

    GO COWBOYS!!!!

  20. You can find a guy who will give you 85% of his production for 10% of his price. But I’m sure the Cowboys will opt to blow a huge chunk of their salary cap space on this overrated loudmouth.

  21. Buffalo mania … chokeboy romo ?
    Im surprised you want to show the world just how foolish you are.
    runner up mvp plus best december ever as a qb.
    But ok … show off ur football knowledge …

  22. A Buffalo fan calling Romo a choker? Thank you. It took until the 22nd hour of the day for my gut busting belly laugh.

  23. paultilifall says: Feb 22, 2015 5:50 PM

    Playing on Super Bowl caliber teams and winning will do more for his bank account than 5-10 million extra of guaranteed money. Especially if he’s doing it for the most watched team in the NFL.
    Super Bowl caliber? Most watched team in the NFL? You mean in 1995, right?

  24. Heck with that. He should hold out. That team is 8-8 best without him and a 12 win team with him. A WR is always one play from a knee. Ask victor Cruz. They’ll pay him if he has the cajones to play hard ball, which he should. Good luck dez.
    Giants fan

  25. Buffalo fans are still sore about ROMO when Dallas even when ROMO had a bad game still beat the Bills 25-24 on MNF October 08, 2007 Oh yeah I’m sure the reason the Cowboys winning 12 games this past season was a fluke…
    Buffalo would love to have stability at the QB spot!! and as far as ROMO being a choker, dude’s that’s old get a new one..

  26. “Considering, however, that the Bills gave up the ninth pick in 2014, a first-round pick in 2015, and a fourth-round pick in 2015 to get unproven rookie Sammy Watkins, maybe there’s a G.M. out there sufficiently desperate to make a move for Dez.”

    The Bills are the Bills, ultimate losers like no other.

  27. Too bad Dez couldn’t come up with the big catch that mattered against the Pack to earn the big dollars.

  28. You non football watching cowboy haters…the franchise tag is something every 32 teams do every year..your “o my look what jerry is doing now” comments are ignorant and definitely show you dont watch football

  29. If Dez has to play under the Franchise Tag, he is going to have a sissy-fit and head butt his mommy again. How can you do that to Mrs. Dez Jerrah?

  30. Hey corky ill have to explain this to you since you dont watch football…when he gets franchised he will get a set amount…no team can go all in and sign him

  31. If the Cowboys are willing to guarantee 28 million for two years, they might as well tag Dez, then if he gets hurt or otherwise loses his skills next year, they are only out this year’s tag.

    If they can sign him to a guaranteed two year 20 million contract, it makes sense. But a 2 year 28 million guarantee when the Cowboys essentially have that already? Why bother?

  32. Listen … Dallas has had the services of Dez for the past 5 years .. at a salary of 2.36 million per year ( 5 years 11.8 million ) Dez has out performed that contract in every measurable way, especially when you consider the average salary of top 10 receivers in the league is 10.55 million per year. Surely no one can argue that Bryant has not been a top 10 receiver each of his 5 years in the league .. So in effect Dallas has “underpaid” Dez 8.19 million per year for 5 years (40.95 million dollars ) If they were to make Bryant a contract offer guaranteeing him 40 million dollars Dallas would simply be paying for what they have already received …… I would advise Bryant to get a disability policy so that his mind can be free of the worry’s that come with playing without guarantees .. I also would advise him to attend every camp, every session etc to give his all and put it in gods hands .. Sadly the reality is that the owners have stacked the deck with rookie salary caps and the ability to “delay” free agency via “tags” .. Perhaps when the next CBA is negotiated the players will have the will to make changes – But the truth is I doubt it

  33. Everyone who thinks Dez should be honored to not have any long term security in exchange for a check less than a signing bonus on one of those said long-term deals just because it’s more money than you make digging ditches and flipping burgers kindly form a line under the “People who aren’t very bright,” sign. Now all you Dallas homers who somehow think any and every player should take less money than his market value to play for ‘your’ team please line up under the “Homers with insanely unrealistic expectations and entitlement issues.”

    The rest of will sit back and laugh at you now.

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