Dez Bryant has made it no secret he's unhappy with the franchise tag placed on him by the Dallas Cowboys this offseason.
Bryant, like many players who get tagged, feels he's done enough to earn a lucrative long-term extension with his team. Bryant has yet to sign his tag, which would guarantee him $12.8 million this season. The deadline for tagged players to sign a long-term contract is July 15. If not signed by then, Bryant won't have the option to sign any other deal with the team and his only option will be to play under the $12.823 million tag or not play at all in 2015.
Bryant isn't happy with his options or how negotiations are going. In fact, he's so upset with Dallas in how they've handled contract negotiations that he may be willing to miss the regular season games to make his point.
Dez Bryant is contemplating not reporting to the Dallas Cowboys for the regular-season opener unless he is signed to a long-term contract by July 15, according to sources familiar with the receiver's negotiation strategy.
"I'm just not going to comment about that," said Bryant's agent Tom Condon. "Our goal is still to get something done on a long-term basis by the deadline."
Another big-name receiver unhappy with being tagged is Demaryius Thomas. Thus far, Thomas and the Denver Broncos have been unable to make significant progress on a long-term extension.
For now, Thomas isn't threatening to skip actual games as Bryant may be doing, but he is reportedly threatening to not report to the start of training camp. The report also says Thomas has the support of quarterback Peyton Manning, who is upset that his best pass-catcher doesn't have a new deal and isn't in Denver for OTAs.
The Cincinnati Bengals have to be watching both situations closely with A.J. Green becoming a free agent next year. The expectation is Green plays out the final year of his rookie deal in 2015, then gets tagged next offseason.
As we're seeing with Thomas and Bryant, that may not be the smartest move on their part. Cincinnati does have a host of impending free agents needing to be re-signed, but none are even close to being more important than Green.
Cincinnati will also be monitoring these situations to see if both Bryant and Thomas are eventually signed to long-term deals, and what their contracts look like. You can bet Green and his agent would look at Thomas' and/or Bryant's deal and say, 'that's what we want.'
Green may not be quite as good as either receiver, but he's close enough to command a deal right on par with what they'll get, especially with Cincinnati having around $34 million in cap space next year.