ARLINGTON, Texas– While Dez Bryant and his camp seem to be floating around the possibility he could miss the season opener, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones doesn't seem too concerned.
In fact, during Wednesday's minicamp practice at AT&T Stadium, Jones sounded rather emphatic the other way, stating he fully expects Bryant to be in uniform when the Cowboys face the Giants Sept. 13.
"I really can't and don't concern ourselves about three months from now. I have no doubt that when we play, if we're still in a franchise situation with Dez, I have no doubt that he'll be leading the way against the Giants," Jones said. "We know how competitive Dez is, how much he wants to beat the Giants, how much he wants to support his teammates – everybody understands how this cap thing works."
But if not the latter, Jones went into more detail about the significance of the franchise tag, stating the reason the policy was created wasn't to be a negative aspect for either side, but to simply protect clubs from losing key players.
"Just to remind everybody, the franchise is a very relevant, significant part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement," Jones said. "It's there, not to be punitive – it's there to tremendously reward a player that's out of contract if the club wants to use that on him. That's what we've done. The rules were bargained as to deadlines, they were done so that you can keep things up in the air."
Last Friday, Bryant was quoted as saying the possibility of holding out of the first game of the regular season is "legit." The star receiver has not attended practices this offseason, and missed his second minicamp practice Wednesday.
While the minicamps are mandatory for all other players, Bryant cannot be subject to a fine by the Cowboys because he has yet to sign his franchise tag tender of $12.8 million.
Under NFL rules, the Cowboys have until July 15 to negotiate a new deal for Bryant. If the deadline passes, the two sides cannot agree or sign a new contract until the end of the 2015 season.