IRVING, Texas – It took until July 15 to put pen to paper. A couple days earlier No. 88 added a little extra suspense, indicating he'd withhold his touchdown-catching services from training camp and possibly games if no deal.
But the Cowboys always intended to get Dez Bryant signed long term.
All along Bryant wanted multi-year security that came Wednesday in the form of a five-year, $70 million contract. He never wanted the one-year franchise tag, but it actually served a useful purpose for the Cowboys: It kept him away from free agency while the two parties eventually worked out a long-term agreement.[embeddedad0]
"Losing Dez never crossed our mind," executive vice president Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan.
Clearly, Wednesday's deadline helped spur action. The all-night bargaining session Tuesday in New York between Bryant's representatives and Stephen and Jerry Jones was scheduled about two weeks ago, Stephen said.
"Obviously deadlines cause things to happen, and I think in this case that's exactly what happened," Stephen said. "We had a number that we had strategized over probably for weeks, really getting our hands around how the number would affect us not only this year but over the next five years (on the salary cap)."
The contract was finalized Wednesday afternoon before the 3 p.m. deadline. Bryant arrived at Valley Ranch to sign papers and received a congratulatory phone call from Jerry on his office phone.
It was a triumphant resolution to a complex negotiation dating back to last year. It was also a validation of Bryant's "spectacular" maturation on and off the field, Jerry said.
"From the perspective that this needed to be evaluated, which is giving him a long-term contract, no one breathing knows Dez better than me," Jerry said on 105.3 The Fan. "For us to agree to this contract, the terms and everything, says all you need to say about Dez and how we feel and how I feel."
With contract business done, there's football business to tend to now.
"I think it's a great deal for Dez. I think it's a great deal for the Cowboys," Stephen said. "It takes away all the distractions. He's going to be ready to go to training camp and go to work and hopefully help the Cowboys win a championship."