The two parties had negotiations throughout the season but their efforts were fruitless. As per the rules, Dallas will now pay Dez no less than the average of the top five salaries at the wide receiver position, equating to roughly $13 million in 2015.
The franchise tag opens a new window for negotiating. Dallas and Bryant's agent have until July 15 to work out a contract while keeping the star wide receiver off the free agent market.
— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) February 17, 2015
Dez has voiced his displeasure via Twitter, as the tag gives his future no clarity while being guaranteed millions of dollars less. Bryant's desire to be a Cowboy for life indicates that an eventual agreement is inevitable.
In 2012, Calvin Johnson signed a contract worth up to $132 million over 8 years, so expect Dez to command a contract in Megatron's ballpark.
The former Oklahoma State Cowboy garners the merit for such a steep price, hauling in 56 touchdowns over the past five seasons, more than any player in the NFL. He has quickly climbed the ranks as one of the league's elite talents.
Dallas has been weary of a long-term commitment due to concerns with Dez's off-field behavior. Coming from a troubled upbringing, he has had legal issues since entering the league but has cleaned up his act in recent years.
As a result of character concerns, Dez slipped in the 2010 draft despite being the most talented wide receiver available. Dallas traded from the 27th slot to snag the Texas native with the 24th overall pick.
The 6'2", 220 pound receiver from Galveston County was issued #88, a uniform previously worn by legendary Cowboys receivers Michael Irvin and Drew Pearson. Dez Bryant is becoming a legend in his own right, catching a Cowboys single-season record 16 touchdown receptions in 2014. Dez also racked up 88 catches and 1,320 yards to land All-Pro honors this past season.
His presence in addition to Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray on a stacked offense, led the Cowboys to a NFC East crown and one playoff victory. The three formed a devastating trio of rare talent. With Murray set to test free agency, his future in Dallas is in doubt. Long-term the Cowboys may have to choose between Murray and Dez. Murray's injury history paired with Dez's freakish talent at a wide receiver position that is much less dispensable than running back, it is comprehensible to lock-up Dez for the long haul.
The skepticism surrounding this possible video of Dez Bryant in a Wal-Mart parking lot doesn't merit the evidence to worry fans or the front office. Dez's resume calls for a hefty contract that Dallas will have to oblige at some point.
Dez Bryant posses a rare, game-changing talent. His ability to shake double coverage, outrun the defense and catch the unmatchable pass is unlike any other. He's deserving of a huge contract, and it would be wise to hammer out a long-term commitment.
With Dallas set to place the franchise tag on the two-time Pro Bowl receiver, the negotiating clock once again starts. Approximately four and a half months is plenty of time for the Cowboys and Bryant's agent at ROC Nation to discuss figures.
Some day Dez Bryant could be honored in AT&T Stadium's Ring of Honor, if he becomes a Cowboy for life.
Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence and CB Byron Jones to Start 2019 Camp on PUP
The Dallas Cowboys will be missing two of their defensive leaders when they open 2019 training camp this Saturday. Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence and Cornerback Byron Jones will both start camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List as they recover from offseason surgeries.
Lawrence, who got a new five-year contract in April, immediately underwent shoulder surgery once his deal was finalized. DeMarcus reportedly was waiting for contract negotiations to be completed before he had the procedure.
Jones had hip surgery in late May. He is playing 2019 on the fifth-year option from his original contract, and is no doubt hoping for his own long-term extension sometime in the near future.
Sources: DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones will open Cowboys camp on PUP and won't practice in California https://t.co/jzWV5FjBO6 via @sportsdaydfw
Neither Lawrence or Jones, who are both coming of Pro Bowl seasons in 2018, are expected to be absent once the regular season starts in September. But either participating in this year's training camp is doubtful, and even preseason appearances are in question right now.
With DeMarcus out at DE, newcomers like Robert Quinn and Kerry Hyder will get plenty of chances to show their stuff. It's also a nice opportunity for Taco Charlton, assuming he's recovered from his own offseason surgery, to get some work against the first-team offensive line.
No Byron at CB will give Jourdan Lewis a nice opportunity to work with the starters as well. He was likely stuck at the 4th spot behind Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, and Anthony Brown but should now get more time on the field and against the best competition.
Breaking News: Allen Hurns Released
The Dallas Cowboys are releasing Wide Receiver Allen Hurns after just one season with the team according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Cowboys releasing WR Allen Hurns, per source.
Hurns was brought in as a possible replacement for Dez Bryant considering they had a similar skill set, but that never quite worked out. He only managed 20 receptions for 295 yards and 2 touchdowns in 7 starts. He's coming off a horrific leg injury suffered in the Cowboys playoff win against the Seahawks last season.
This saves the Cowboys 5 million in cap space putting them around 24 million overall heading into the 2019 season currently. This now opens up snaps for some of the younger receivers on the Cowboys roster.
Is Ezekiel Elliott the Most Dominant Running Back in the NFL?
There's no player in football that is more hotly debated at the moment than Dallas Cowboys Running Back Ezekiel Elliott. Though much of the debate surrounds his potential contract extension, which would likely make him the highest-paid running back in the NFL, there's also been a lot of debate about his standing as the best running back in the NFL.
On Thursday, Bleacher Report's Kristopher Knox released his list of the most dominant players at each position. It's a fantastic read and not just because he listed Ezekiel Elliott as the most dominant running back in the NFL.
It's certainly easy to see where he's coming from despite the debate that rages across the NFL's fanbases. Ezekiel Elliott's lead the NFL in rushing two of the three season's he's been in the league. Both of those seasons, Elliott only played 15 games, getting the benefit of the Cowboys playoff positioning being solidified prior to week 17. In 2017, he would have probably ran away with the league's rushing title again, which would make him the three-time defending rushing champion heading into 2019.
In that 2017 season when he missed six games and had a game against the Denver Broncos where he only rushed for seven yards on nine carries, Elliott still finished in the top 10 in rushing.
In 2018, he bested Saquon Bakley by 127 yards rushing. Had Elliott played in the week 17 finale last season and rushed for his season average, he would have won the rushing title by more than 200 yards. And he did that in what many considered to be a down season for Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys rushing attack. Pro Football Focus even graded Elliott as the 30th best running back for 2018.
In 2018, Elliott had 2,000 total yards, besting his 2016 number of 1,994 total yards as a rookie. His rushing total was down in 2018 from 2016, but he still had an excellent season.
No disrespect to Todd Gurley, Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, Le'Veon Bell, or Chrisitan McCaffrey, but they don't have the credentials that Ezekiel Elliott brings to the table. Those guys are great running backs in their own right, but Elliott has lead the NFL in rushing in two of the three seasons he's been in the league and would have probably lead the league in 2017 had he not been suspended.
Since 2015, only Le'Veon Bell has averaged more total yards per game than Elliott, but Elliott's close and he's not used as much in the passing game as Bell. Only Todd Gurley has a higher average of rushing touchdowns per game than Elliott.
Elliott's 3.4 receptions per game through the first three seasons of his career is only slightly better than Todd Gurley who ranks sixth among this group of players. The Dallas Cowboys attempted to get Elliott more involved in 2018 but didn't work him downfield enough in his targets for him to be anything more than a dump-off option. In 2019, the Dallas Cowboys should work to get him running more intermediate routes in the passing game because as we saw in the Detroit game last season, Elliott's got really good hands.
Historically, Elliott is off to a great start to his career. His first three years in the NFL compare quite favorably to two Hall of Famers and one of the most dynamic running backs of the early 21st century.
No player with more than 100 career attempts in the NFL has averaged more rushing yards per game than Ezekiel Elliott.
Think about that for a second. Through his first three seasons, he's averaged more rushing yards per game than Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Terrell Davis, Eric Dickerson, Adrian Peterson, Tony Dorsett, Walter Payton, and the list goes on and on.
If you look at what he's done compared to other players during their first three years. Only Eric Dickerson, Earl Campbell, and Edgerrin James averaged more rushing yards per game than Ezekiel Elliott in the first three seasons of their respective careers.
One of the things that people have used to knock Ezekiel Elliott has been the volume of carries that he's received, but there's a reason that the Dallas Cowboys lean on him so heavily. They've created a run-first identity and though at times it has made the offense somewhat inefficient, it's not because the player they're handing to is not a good player, but because every team in the NFL is expecting the Dallas Cowboys to run the football with Ezekiel Elliott.
In 2018 in particular, the Cowboys offensive coaching staff, namely the departed Scott Linehan, didn't do enough to create favorable matchups in the running game. Too often it was a first down run out of heavy personnel that the defense was expecting.
With two rushing titles already in the bag, there's no reason to expect anything different from Ezekiel Elliott in 2019. It's anticipated that the offensive gameplan and execution will be better in 2019 than it was in 2018. The offensive line will be better and with Kellen Moore as the offensive coordinator, there's a thought that the Dallas Cowboys are going to be less predictable moving forward.
The debate will continue to rage over the value of extending Ezekiel Elliott with a contract that will carry him to his age 28 or 29 season, but there is no debating that Ezekiel Elliott is the best and most dominant running back in the NFL.
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