They say that deadlines make deals, and with a little over two weeks left for the Cowboy to get a long-term deal done with Dez Bryant, now would be a good for the two sides to start hammering out a deal. Last night, Shan Shariff of 105.3 The Fan reported via Twitter that he was hearing whispers to that effect:
Starting to hear multiple whispers about imminent long-term deal for Dez. The numbers 100 and 45 tossed around but still working to confirm.— Shan Shariff (@1053SS) June 30, 2015
On Saturday, Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas broke the news that Tom Condon, Bryant's agent, had his first face-to-face meeting with the he Dallas Cowboys in nearly four months last week. And with the two sides now picking up talks, Shariff's report appears plausible.
The numbers Shariff quotes are also interesting, although it remains to be seen which side is "tossing" those numbers around. The Cowboys' original offer to Bryant reportedly was $114 million over 10 years with $20 million in guarantees, and even amateur capologists immediately understood that such an offer was perhaps a starting point for a contract negotiation, but wasn't anywhere close to a final offer.
But $100 million (over seven years) with $45 million in guarantees might be much closer to what an eventual contract may look like.
In 2012 Detroit's Calvin Johnson signed a $113.45 million contract extension with $53.25 million guaranteed, but that simply is not a realistic target for Bryant for a number of reasons. The year before, Larry Fitzgerald signed a seven-year, $113 million extension with $45 million in guarantees with the Cardinals (which the team has since re-negotiated). Johnson was the second overall pick, Fitzgerald the third overall pick, and both players' draft position heavily influenced their eventual contract extensions.
The next best WR contract currently is what Mike Wallace signed for in Miami, a five-year, $60 million deal, including $30 million in guarantees, and there is a reasonable expectation from Bryant's side that he should get more than that. Joel Corry of CBSSports points out what the Wallace deal from 2013 would worth when adjusted for the 2015 salary cap:
An alternative method of looking at the situation is converting Wallace's deal into today's salary cap environment. Wallace signed his contract in 2013 when the salary cap was $123 million. His deal translates into approximately $14 million per year and $35 million in guarantees under the current $143.28 million salary cap. This doesn't take into account that Bryant is a much better player than Wallace.
$14 million over seven years equals $98 million, very close to the $100 million Shariff mentions, and the $35 million in guarantees adjusted to seven years instead of five would equal $49 million, not too far away from the $45 million quoted.
Of course, just because these numbers might make sense doesn't mean the two sides will agree to such a deal. The guaranteed money in particular does not sound like a figure that originated from Valley Ranch. However, if you were to consider a sizable signing bonus of say $12 million as part of the $45 million total, then the remaining $33 million in guarantees might become a little more palatable to the Cowboys.
There are still two weeks to go, and as new contract estimates will inevitably be bandied about, it will be interesting to see how the numbers above hold up.
And keep in mind, even Shan Shariff is still "working to confirm."