DALLAS, Texas (105.3 THE FAN) – The Cowboys need to sign Dez Bryant immediately. Today. Do it now. Pay him just as much as the highest paid WR in football.
That sounds crazy right? Hear me out…
There’s been a lot of talk over the last week or two about the Dez Bryant contract situation and it’s totally warranted. He’s a great talent, a Top 10 Wide Receiver in this league, and depending who you are arguing with, a Top 5 wide receiver in the NFL. It’s very easy for him to argue that he should be paid like an upper echelon pass catcher in the game.
I think I’ve found a way for the Cowboys to manipulate this situation by not only doing themselves a favor, but also doing a public service for their #1 offensive threat.
The current highest paid wide receiver in the NFL is Calvin Johnson. His average salary is a little over $16 million per season in a contract that would almost take him to his mid 30’s. The Cowboys should give Dez Bryant, Calvin Johnson money.
It seems crazy to just hand Dez Bryant a deal with an average salary of $16 million a season right? Things are about to change though, and I feel that elite players in the league are going to be compensated a little more heavily soon.
In 2012, the NFL salary cap was $120.6 million. It was raised to $123 million in 2013, and in 2014 will be $133 million.
Remember that big Thursday Night Football simulcast deal, where the NFL Network and CBS will simulcast games in weeks 2-9 In 2015? Yeah, that’s going to bring in a ton of revenue.
Having those Thursday nighter’s on a big network like CBS is a game changer and that money is set to kick in which will likely raise the 2015 salary cap.
Some reports even have the estimated 2016 salary cap possibly up to $160 million. Wow! That’s nearly $40 million more than last year’s cap and nearly $30 million more than this year’s. Those $20 million quarterbacks we talk about, will soon be $25 million quarterbacks. With the rise in salary cap, there’s also a rise in franchise tag amounts.
Dez is 25 now, he’ll turn 26 this season. A season where he is set to make just a tad under $2 million in base salary.
If the cap is about to go up in the next two seasons, why not act fast? Do the extension now, let’s say 5 years at $16 million per year. That’s 5/$80m overall, and Dez is basically getting paid like the highest paid wide receiver in the league, while still playing this upcoming season for cheap to help the Cowboys cap.
If you can bargain and get him for cheaper than that, awesome. Obviously, that’s your first plan anyways.
The negotiators from the Dez Bryant camp know the salary cap is about to rise. The next contract for Dez isn’t going to be a 1 or 2 year deal. It’s going to be a long term deal, and with the cap rising each year the market value of high-end wide receivers could easily rise into the 20s. It’s almost there already, with Calvin Johnson.
For Dez, a 5 year extension keeps you in Dallas for the next 6 seasons with the ability to hit the free agent market again at the age of 31, a decent age that would allow him to sign another pretty solid contract.
Wouldn’t the Bryant camp be blown away by a 5 year $80 million dollar extension? Probably, but they shouldn’t be.
If Dez continues to improve and reaches some of that ceiling the Cowboys have been hoping for, then by the end of that contract I proposed, he would almost be a bargain, because the other high end receivers in the league will be making $20 million a year.
If you don’t think Dez is on that Calvin Johnson level, i’m not going to fist fight you, but I think there are some things that need to be seen. Back in February, Jonathan Bales of thedctimes.com did a study on Dez vs. Calvin Johnson, and you can read that fine work here.
In that article, he notes that in his career Dez has scored on 24 of his 58 red zone targets. Dez scores. He can get you 6 from your own 20 or from the opposing team’s 20. He’s a game changer. Don’t let him hit free agency, because there are teams out there who will throw the house at him, with the understanding that he’s got the potential to be the best wide receiver in the league. They’ll also understand that the price of poker is going up each year. Signing him now isn’t so much about what he’ll be making next year or the year after that. It’s about saving future money. When the cap is $175 or $180 million in 2018, the Cowboys will be glad they locked up Dez at around $16 million per year.
Kevin “KT” Turner is the producer of the Ben and Skin show, heard weekdays 3-7pm on 105.3 The Fan. He’s also a co-host of Fan Jam, heard weekends on 105.3 The Fan. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can follow him on twitter @ktfuntweets. KT wants you to know that he loves you.
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