ORLANDO, Fla.– As outside speculation about Dez Bryant's contract continues, team owner/general manager Jerry Jones said he would like to meet with the veteran receiver in the near future, but the timing hasn't been right so far this offseason.
"We need to talk, and I certainly have not had a thought about talking with him that did not anticipate him being with us," Jones said Tuesday from the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando.
The Cowboys' recent signings of veteran receivers Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson do not impact Bryant's situation, Jones said. Other factors for adding depth are reserve wideout Brice Butler's free agent status and Terrance Williams' foot fracture that could limit his offseason work.
It's now a crowded depth chart, for sure. But Jones said he likes the depth and added competition at receiver. including the presence of Bryant, who just completed his eighth season in Dallas.
"I like our mix," Jones said. "I think these two guys we signed and what we might look at, at any level of the draft, plus what we might get worked out with Dez, gives us a good-looking receiver outlook."
Jones declined to elaborate on what a meeting with Bryant might entail, but his contract has been a hot topic throughout the offseason. Team executive vice president Stephen Jones said in February that the Cowboys must "determine what is in the best interest of our business" with regard to Bryant's contract, which has a $16.5 million salary cap figure in 2018.
Bryant has stated publicly this offseason that he wants to remain in Dallas and pursue a championship with the franchise that drafted him.
Jones said the team can allocate the current resources invested in the receiver position – the depth chart includes Bryant at his current cap figure, Williams, Cole Beasley, Hurns, Thompson, and 2016 rookies Ryan Switzer and Noah Brown – with a caveat.[embeddedad0]
"We can live with that kind of allocation at receiver, but we've got to have production," Jones said. "In other words, it's got to really provide not only big-play potential, but it's also got to keep the defenses honest so that (running back) Zeke (Elliott) can be the player he can be."
It remains to be seen if the Cowboys look to receiver in the draft as well. Jones said he believes the draft has deep talent there, but the team is still diving into its pre-draft evaluations.