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NFC East: Cruz’s Deal And How It Affects Dez Bryant’s Future

Posted Jul 17, 2013


Somewhere within the hierarchy of DallasCowboys.com, someone signed off on the idea of giving yours truly some extra space to talk football.

Between myself, Nick Eatman, Rowan Kavner and Bryan Broaddus, the Cowboys are pretty well covered on this site, I’d say. The focus of this blog is more on the NFC East as a whole. Outside of the enormous popularity of the Cowboys, their division features some pretty prominent, popular franchises in their own right – and there’s the undeniable truth that all three are in the way of a Cowboys’ playoff berth. 

So think of this as a way to stay current with the pesky neighbors, and how their actions affect the Cowboys. Topics are going to range all over the place, from gameplanning and stat breakdowns to RGIII’s new line of socks – because seriously, those socks are sweet.

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It’s not exactly breaking news, but I figured I’d start with the six-year, $46 million contract extension signed by Victor Cruz about a week ago. The unheralded Giants phenom has really only had one good game in four attempts against the Cowboys, but that’s not why his new deal piques my interest.

As plenty of Cowboys fans are already discussing, Dallas has its own phenomenal young receiver to worry about re-signing in the near future. Dez Bryant hits the open market in 2015, assuming the Cowboys can’t re-sign him before then, and at the rate he’s going it’s a near-lock he’s going to require Cruz-type money to keep.

In the two years since Cruz arrived out of nowhere at Giants’ training camp, he’s amassed 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns – not to mention a massive performance in New York’s playoff run to Super Bowl XLVI. He’s easily been one of the division’s top playmakers.

Bryant is right alongside him, with 2,310 yards and 21 touchdowns in his past two seasons. If the big guy lives up to the expectations on him for 2013, there’s going to be a lot of talk about securing him with a long-term deal in 2014. 

Would $7.6 million a year be enough to sway Bryant, though?  Cruz admitted this week that he thought he took a discount to stay in New York and be near his hometown and his family. Similar sentiments could apply to Bryant, who has lived in the area his entire life. Or would the lure of getting a massive free agent pay day be too great?

It’s doubtful Bryant would be able to command the type of salary of potential Hall of Famers like Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald on just his second contract. But for comparison sake, Chicago’s Brandon Marshall signed the deal that’s slated to net him roughly $11 million in 2010, when he had 4,019 yards and 25 touchdowns to his name.

That stat line is well within Bryant’s reach this year. If he manages it, it’ll be interesting to see how his negotiations compare to Cruz’s.

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