The Dallas Cowboys began mandatory minicamp yesterday with one key figure conspicuous by his absence.
Dez Bryant's decision to hold out as he seeks a new long-term contract with the franchise continues to worry Cowboys fans and, after the star wide receiver admitted he could well sit out Week One of the 2015 season, they were hoping for progress sooner rather than later so that he could return to the fold.
Comments made today, then, by Dallas Executive Vice President Stephen Jones, with less than a month to go until Bryant's franchise tag signing deadline, won't be exactly welcome.
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"Right now there is just too big a divide," Jones told Sirius XM NFL Radio on Wednesday.
"I don't think anything we're going to say is going to sway what Tom (Condon, Bryant's agent) or what Dez may think and vice versa. We're not really concerned with what they have to say right now."
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Hardly the words of a man convinced that a deal is close, unless of course he is simply fighting fire with fire and attempting to counter Bryant's bold no-show plan.
As the situation develops it is looking more and more likely that the star receiver is going to have to play through 2015 on the franchise tag (worth $12.8 million) he is currently reluctant to sign.
And Jones, this time via the Cowboys' official website, believes it is the lopsided wide receiver market that is causing the two sides to come to the negotiating table with such different ideas about what a mega-contract should look like.
"I don't think anyone quite knows what that market is, and that makes it difficult. I think once we figure out what that is, then there's a way for us to get something done with Dez.
"But until that happens, it's what teams think versus what players and their representatives think. There's a wide gap right now.”
With the Cowboys looking to build on an impressive 2014 campaign when the new season gets under way this fall, the absence of Dez Bryant is already being felt.
Being without his talents on the field as they begin to fine tune schemes for 2015, not to mention missing his vocal presence as a team leader is already being noted.
Fellow wide receiver Colt Beasley admitted as much after Tuesday's minicamp opener.
Cowboys fans: Will Dez Bryant's situation affect how the team performs in 2015? Have your say in the comments below...
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