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IRVING (105.3 THE FAN) – How can you tell when the two sides in the Dez Bryant negotiations are posturing? When their mouths are moving.

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Dez Bryant doesn’t have many cards to play in this effort to bust from the $12.832 million franchise tag he is presently locked into. So he put one down on the table on Friday, telling me that he’s “serious’’ about boycotting regular-season games.

How does Cowboys COO Stephen Jones counter? With a card of his own, telling SiriusXM radio that there’s a “wide gap’’ between the two sides as they effort to forge a long-term “Cowboys-For-Life’’ contract for the star receiver.

And then agent Tom Condon joins the Tuesday fray, also on Sirius, insisting that there have been no negotiations between the two sides.

But wait, if there have been no negotiations, how can anyone know that there’s a “wide gap’’?
Answer: This is all posturing, the “mating dance’’ of contract talks, if you will.

The ball was advanced again, a bit, on Wednesday, as the Cowboys practiced in a minicamp at AT&T Stadium. As his teammates worked, Dez tweeted, “Everybody voicing opinions..13 mil is cool but Where is my security? I’ll wait …5 years without complaining..So how am I selfish? ”


Moments later, team owner Jerry Jones made himself to the media and said he is “sympathetic” to Dez’ position, adding, “I would like nothing more than to have long-term security with Dez.”

Both sides are well-aware that they deadline for a long-term deal is July 15, and that if Dez truly sits out after that he’ll be forfeiting about $755,000 per game on principle, and that if Dallas doesn’t get this done, they’ll lose (if not actually games) the faith and trust they’ve spend years building with Bryant.

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Some of Stephen’s comments continue to point to the positive.

“At the end of the day it’s a business, and when the time comes and there’s something that we can do that makes sense for both sides, I know that’ll happen,’’ he said.

And maybe that doesn’t happen until other receiver dominoes fall. Julio Jones, A.J. Green and Demaryius Thomas are, like Dez, all looking for new deals. Condon’s CAA agency is involved in two of those four deals. Condon holds not only some of the purse strings here, but also some of the puppet strings.

“This is an environment right now with a receiver market that’s not exactly easy to get your hands around,’’ Stephen said. “It’s been well-documented that both Fitzgerald and Megatron (the two monster contracts Dez’ side would like to use as foundations) both got their deals based on their rookie contracts because they were high draft picks and the franchise tag dictated that. But since then all receivers, the top ones, have pretty much been paid in the $11.5-12.5 million range, and there’s a big disparity there.”

That is a revelation as it seems to say Dallas wishes to pay Dez $12.5 million a year. But of course, “annual salary’’ is just a fraction of what must be settled on. What about years? What about escapability? What about fully guaranteed money? What about “virtually guaranteed’’ money?

“I don’t think anyone quite knows what that market is, and that makes it difficult,” Stephen said. “Until that happens (with Dez, Jones, Green or Thomas), it’s what teams think versus what players and their representatives think. There’s a wide gap right now.”

When does the “wide gap’’ figure to start closing? When both sides are too busy doing their negotiating with each other to conduct negotiations through the media … which figures to be right before July 15.

Said Jerry: “I have no doubt that he’ll be leading the way (in the 2015 season-opener) against the Giants.”

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