IRVING, Texas - With so many expected free agents, including two of the best offensive players in football, the Cowboys have plenty of questions to answer here this offseason.
Some of them will be answered here before the start of the free-agent signing period on March 10. Others might take a few more weeks, and perhaps after the draft.
For now, DallasCowboys.com has come up with 10 pressing questions the Cowboys are facing this offseason and writers Bryan Broaddus, David Helman and Nick Eatman will try their best to answer them, giving a forecast of what could happen here in what should be an entertaining offseason.
Today's question focuses on the news of the day after the Cowboys placed the franchise tag on Dez Bryant, giving them more time to get a long-term deal done.
Will The Cowboys Give Dez Bryant Long-Term Deal Sooner or Later?
Bryan: Count me in as one of those that believes that the Dez Bryant extension will come more sooner than later. In my years of working on the football side of this building - I clearly remember those days where we would have none of our draft picks signed one day before training camp opened and then ten hours later they would all be on the practice field. Jerry and Stephen Jones are businessmen that are used to working under deadlines. When they are ready to work, then we will see them work. I believe that you will see a deal before free agency opens for the simple reason that it's important for them not only to take care of Bryant long term but they need a portion of that money they have used in the tag to sign other free agents which is vital. With the clock now ticking - business is about to pick up.
Nick:Personally, I think this long-term deal will be sooner, with a chance to get done before the start of the free-agent signing period. You'd like to think Dez and his camp will understand that getting a contract completed sooner rather than later will help this team in free agency, perhaps with a shot to keep DeMarco Murray, too. Now this is the most important contract Bryant will ever sign so he can't give any kind of discount, nor should he. But if they can at least get something accomplished, it'll lower the hit on the salary cap and give the team more flexibility to sign these core players. They have a great relationship with Bryant's agent Tom Condon and I would think before the March 10 deadline, these two sides will get together and get really close to a deal. Maybe it happens a little past the start of free agency but it'll be completed in enough time for the Cowboys to get some other things accomplished.
David:It would be incredibly beneficial for the Cowboys to ink Dez Bryant to a long-term deal as fast as humanly possible. Hypothetically, let's say he were to sign for four years on Friday, the Cowboys would drastically reduce how much the Pro Bowl receiver will count toward their 2015 salary cap. With Dez eating up just a few million dollars, instead of $12.8 million, the front office would have much more flexibility in negotiating with other free agents. I just don't think it'll work out that conveniently for them, though. The franchise tag has been applied, and Dez now knows that he stands to make a minimum of $13 million this year. There isn't as much incentive for him to sign a longer deal right away, so I'm having a hard time figuring out why these negotiations would suddenly kick into high gear. Don't get me wrong: I completely believe the Cowboys are going to sign Dez to a deal that will keep him in Dallas for a long time. But I'm not going to be surprised if negotiations play out into the spring – or maybe even the summer months. In the meantime, there are steps the Cowboys can take to free up cap space while carrying Bryant's franchise number, such as restructuring and reducing existing contracts. The Cowboys are committed to paying Dez $12.8 million for the time being, but it shouldn't hinder them too much in free agency.