ARLINGTON, Texas – With a change in management comes a change in attitude regarding Dez Bryant's contract.
Bryant spoke openly about his contract negotiations for the first time in months on Sunday, hours after news broke that he had signed with Roc Nation -- the agency founded and headed by rapper Jay Z.
The fifth-year wideout is set to become a free agent in March, and he has made it known he wants to be paid like one of the league's best receivers. Despite that, he said the decision to sign with Roc Nation was about more than just contract negotiations.
"It ain't about a contract, it's about me branding myself, being an icon for these kids. I love kids, they look up to me," he said. "I come from dirt – point-blank, period. Every day, I'm writing my story and it's getting better. I felt like it was the best choice for me, they can help me get to where I want to be, and it is what it is."
It has to be at least a little bit about a contract, though, as Bryant made it perfectly clear he's aiming for a longterm contract, rather than the one-year deal that comes with the league's franchise tag.
"I'm going to tell you the God-honest truth: I'd be highly disappointed," he said when asked about the possibility of being given the franchise tag.
Bryant said during training camp that he didn't want to talk about contract matters once the season started – assuming a deal hadn't been reached by then. Reports have indicated that he had come close to reaching an agreement with the Cowboys, though not close enough, before the start of the season.
Following the loss to Arizona, he said he'd be willing to have that conversation during the season – provided it's a good offer.
"I'll tell you this: if it's right, yeah," he said, when asked if he'd be willing to talk about his deal.
Given the early stage of the new relationship, Bryant said he hasn't gotten into the details of his contract negotiations or other aspects of the partnership. He did say that he spoke personally with Jay Z, and he felt the Brooklyn, N.Y., native understood his perspective.
"He was one of those guys to come from nothing, and look at him now. All he wants to do is help," Bryant said.
He added: "I want to show the world who I am, man – who I really I am. I think they've only seen a glimpse. I'm really not a bad person, I really focus on trying to help others and younger guys who have been in my situation before – understand that there's always a way."[embeddedad0]
In the meantime, Bryant said he's hopeful he and his new agency can work out a longterm deal with the Cowboys, keeping him in place in Dallas for the foreseeable future.
"It makes sense, it makes sense. I love Cowboy Nation, they love me," he said. "I'm going to continue to keep doing what I need to do to try and make it right and try to bring that Super Bowl here."