ARLINGTON, Texas – Cowboys officials generally repeat that they don't like to discuss contract negotiations during the course of the season, but they made an exception Tuesday in the case of Dez Bryant.
Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones both spoke to reporters Tuesday night at AT&T Stadium, as the team unveiled the name of its new practice facility.
Tuesday was also one of the first times either Jones has spoken publicly since reports came out during the weekend that the Cowboys were concerned about offering Bryant a long term contract because of his off-the-field conduct.
It was an idea Jerry Jones seemed to shrug off.
"What we want to do is have an agreement for the rest of Dez's career. So that's what we want," he said. "To me that says a lot about the concern about off-the-field concern if we want him on the Dallas Cowboys for the rest of his career."
Bryant's rookie contract expires after the 2014 season, and it's a given that his next contract will be substantial – whether it's with Dallas or another club. Jerry Jones said there is more to consider in contract negotiations than on-field production, but he added that he's happy with Bryant's development over the past few years.
"I'm real impressed with how he's evolved over the last several years, or we wouldn't be in serious contract negotiations with him," he said. "So I think all of that is where it really is, and I do look for us to get something done with Dez."
That's not to say a deal is coming before the end of the 2014 season. Stephen Jones said the Cowboys have given Bryant multiple offers, but the negotiations are continuing to play out.
"We've offered him some really nice contracts. We also have to respect his views on where it is. My take on those things is that they ultimately find a way," he said.
The Cowboys also reserve the right to place Bryant under the franchise tag if a longterm deal can't be reached. The tag would essentially fix the star wideout to a one-year contract that's valued as the average of the top five contracts at his position. The franchise tag figure for a receiver in 2014 is about $12.3 million.
Bryant said following the Cowboys' loss to Arizona on Nov. 2 that he'd be "highly disappointed" if the Cowboys used the franchise tag on him.
"Very few of them want that, but that's business. Just as we understand, he doesn't want to sign deals that we think are fair. Everything is business," Stephen Jones said. "He'll understand business. And worse things have happened than to get guaranteed a whole lot of money. … Our intentions are to sign Dez to a long term contract."