A new report published today concerning star wide receiver Dez Bryant will leave Dallas Cowboys fans wondering what if.
Bryant could well be franchise tagged by the Dallas Cowboys in the next few days - securing his future with the franchise for at least another season - but news today from Cowboys beat writer Mike Fisher has revealed just how close the two sides came to agreeing to a new long-term deal way back in October 2014.
So close and yet so far
Citing sources close to the situation, the reporter notes that, such was the positivity at the time, the Cowboys had actually begun the process of writing up the contract for Bryant before things fell apart.
Per the report:
"It was the last week of October. The Cowboys were rolling on the field...and rolling towards a "Cowboy for Life" contract with Dez Bryant...How close? The Cowboys were so near a new agreement with Bryant and then-agent Eugene Parker that we're told some of the ancillary paperwork was being drawn up inside of Ranch Valley."
Things have changed somewhat since Fall 2014. With Bryant having changed agents since October, and the Cowboys' priorities having shifted somewhat in the proceeding four months, negotiations towards a multi-year deal now seem as far away as ever despite the player having gone on record to say he wants to be a Cowboy for life.
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Instead, with fellow free agent DeMarco Murray to think about, it looks like a franchise tag for Bryant is the most likely outcome this offseason. That would only postpone talk of his long-term future for 12 months however.
With most Dallas Cowboys fans wishing to see the bonafide receiving star stay in the famous jersey for years to come that will not be good enough for some. And to hear that things could have been put to bed months ago will only make matters worse.
NFL teams can, as of today, place a franchise tag on any player they deem worthy, and Dez Bryant certainly warrants that.
A league leading 16 receiving touchdowns, coupled with 1,320 yards in 2014 make Bryant a top-five receiver and a man Dallas would find near impossible to replace.
So why hasn't a new long-term deal come about? Well, as well as having to balance the books re. other free agents, there remain lingering doubts about Bryan't maturity.
Many believe that the Cowboys feel handing him millions of dollars guaranteed would be a risk.
What do you think Cowboys fans? Why hasn't Dez Bryant signed a long-term deal in Dallas, and will he ever get one? Who is more important to keep, Bryant or Murray? Let us know in the comments section below...