IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys and Dez Bryant's representatives used just about every possible minute to get his five-year contract done in time.
All but about 30 minutes before last Wednesday's 3 p.m. deadline, to be specific.
"It's about as close as it gets," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Tuesday from the grand opening of Dallas Cowboys Club at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. "But deadlines do amazing things. It causes everybody to really push.
"If you're going to get something done it's time to put your best deal out there. I give Dez and his group a lot of credit. We knew we were going to be pushed and I think we made the right decision, no question. Dez is an important part of this team and obviously I think has a chance to be one of the great players to ever play for this franchise, if not the league."
With Bryant's deal done, there's new business to address. On-field business. The first training camp practice in Oxnard, Calif., begins July 30 in just over a week.
The Cowboys plan to be smart with Bryant's practice reps as camp opens after he missed the entire voluntary offseason program and workouts due to contract negotiations. But his All-Pro skills, not to mention his energy, will help drive practices as the team lays the groundwork for what they believe can be a special season.[embeddedad0]
"It's very exciting, and I do believe we've put together a team here that's one of the better ones we've had in quite some time," Jones said. "I do believe it's all coming together for us.
"Obviously getting Dez signed last week was a big deal for us. He's such a big part of our team, not only from his skill level and what he does from that standpoint but he's also an emotional leader for our team as well. People look up to him. He brings a lot of energy to the practice field.
"Now the focus can be where it needs to be, which is on the field and that's getting better and obviously working toward a goal of winning a championship."