Wide receiver Dez Bryant is most likely going to be back with the Dallas Cowboys in 2015 whether he’s happy with his pay or not. The team informed his agent on Saturday that they will indeed place the franchise tag on Bryant before Monday’s deadline. With that, it looks like running back DeMarco Murray will be allowed to test free agency.
Teams must notify NFL by 4 p.m. ET on Monday if they wish to place the franchise tag on a player. With the tag being placed on Bryant, he is guaranteed around $13 million in salary in 2015, per ESPN.
Now, per league rules, another team can attempt to sign Dez Bryant by offering him a contract. The Cowboys will have the opportunity to match that offer, but if they don’t, the other team will have to give over two first-round draft picks.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke to the media at the NFL scouting combine this past week and said he still hopes that the team and Bryant will come to an agreement on a long-term contract.
“I still think that it’s probably, you know, would be a stretch to think that we would have something done by Monday and beat the franchise-tag deadline,” Jones said. “Looks like we’re eyeing a franchise tag on Dez, but certainly won’t stop us from working hard to get a long-term deal.”
During the 2014 season, Bryant spoke of getting a new contract with Dallas and hoped one would come into place before the next season. He said he would be “highly disappointed” if the Cowboys placed the franchise tag on him, per Fox Sports.
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) February 26, 2015
With the franchise tag being placed on Bryant, that means the Cowboys appear to be content with letting last year’s NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray test free agency. He is yet another big name player that the Cowboys could not reach an agreement with on a long-term deal.
In 2014, Murray had 1,845 rushing yards, which set a single-season record for the Cowboys. He played in every single game of the season, and that was while he had a broken left hand for some part of it.
Dallas wants to keep Murray on the team, but they won’t overpay for him. Rumors have been floating around that they could make a run at putting a trade together for Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings or Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks.
Throughout his five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Dez Bryant has racked up 5,424 yards on 381 receptions while chalking up 56 touchdowns. In the first five years of their Cowboys’ career, no other player has had more receptions, yards, or touchdowns.
[Image via CBS Sports]