It's a very similar deal to what Dez Bryant got in Dallas, and it shouldn't be too shocking the announcements came just a short time apart. Bryant's signing bonus is a bit higher, however. There were some rumors the Broncos and Thomas weren't close to a deal leading up to today, and we even had a news item earlier this week the Broncos weren't in a hurry to sign Thomas to a long-term deal with a chance QB Peyton Manning retires after this season. Also yesterday, it was reported there was a real chance Thomas would not report to camp and could also miss games. Thomas is ranked third on our WR list, but is often getting drafted outside the first round and after Dez Bryant. However we project him as one of three WRs to go over 100 receptions this season. Like Bryant owners and potential owners, those protecting or eyeing Thomas in fantasy drafts can relax a bit.
The Dallas Cowboys and their franchised-tagged star wideout Dez Bryant have hammered out a long-term contract ahead of Wednesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline. Bryant agreed in principle to a five-year, $70 million deal with $45 million guaranteed, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported. While nowhere close to the $16 million per year earned by Detroit's Calvin Johnson, Bryant's $14 million average per season exceeds the $12.82 million he would have made in 2015 by signing his franchise tag. The new pact puts to bed a summer-long drama that saw negotiations flatline between Dallas and Bryant.
Bryant is coming off a monster campaign that saw him set a career mark with 16 touchdowns, and he rolls into September as the heart and soul of a Cowboys offense, especially now with RB DeMarco Murray leaving for the Eagles. Bryant has emerged over five seasons as a top-five NFL wideout, both in real life and the fantasy world. We rank Bryant fourth on our WR list, but he's getting drafted as a top-three fantasy WR, and in the first round. Owners and potential owners can now rest easy because Bryant had threatened to miss camp and games if no long-term deal was reached. He should be poised for another big season as the center point of the Dallas offense, especially with the questions surrounding the running game.
The coaches lauded the work of Terrance Williams in Bryant's absence during the offseason program. Williams became the de facto leader of the wide receiver room. He and QB Tony Romo were much more in-tune with each other.
"He's not only taken a tremendous leadership role in the group, really setting the example of how you do things, he's expanded his route inventory," wide receivers coach Derek Dooley said at the conclusion of last month's minicamp. "He's played X. He's played Z. He's played in the slot and every day he went out there and was the same player. Every route, every opportunity he had he took advantage of it. So he's made a big jump this offseason."
Devin Street worked with the starters with Bryant absent. He had just two catches as a rookie in 2014 but the coaches liked his development through the year. Getting the extra work with Romo in the spring will help his development this year. Coaches say players make the biggest jumps between their rookie and second seasons. While any work would have been good work for Street, having that work come with Romo is an added bonus.
While there's still time before the July 15 deadline, it doesn't hurt fantasy owners to at least think about life without Bryant on the fantasy radar and what it could mean for other players' value. The story went on to say WR Cole Beasley would continue to serve as the No. 3 receiver in the slot, so his role would essentially be the same, but it could change how much the Cowboys use three wide receiver formations. The article added that tight end Gavin Escobar could be used more in a receiver role, which would likely eat more into Street's snaps than Beasley's.
Monday, July 13, 2015, 5:06pm
According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, there have been no talks about an extension between Jones and the team.
The good news here is Jones already promised he wasn’t going to be “selifsh” and hold out, unlike another situation, the story points out. Jones is a late-first, early-second round selection in fantasy drafts this year.
The Cowboys and wide receiver Dez Bryant face a July 15 deadline to work out a multi-year contract extension and Bryant is reportedly doing what he can to turn up the heat on the team with Wednesday fast approaching. Ed Werder of ESPN reports that Bryant called Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones with an ultimatum about contract talks. Per Werder, Bryant told Jones that he will skip training camp if he isn’t signed to a deal other than the franchise tag by the deadline. Bryant also reportedly said that his absence from the team will extend to “real games” when the season gets underway in September.
Depending on where you get your information, some say the sides are close, while others say they are still far apart. As the story said, it’s not the first time that the prospect of Bryant missing games has come up this offseason, but no one from the Cowboys seemed to take the threats all that seriously. Perhaps this will change things as we head into Wednesday's deadline. Bryant took it a step further Monday tweeting out: "As much as I love football...on my beautiful babies.. I apologize #cowboynation but I will not be there if no deal #fact."
Tuesday, July 7, 2015, 6:51pm
The Broncos placed their $12.82 million franchise tag on Demaryius Thomas in March and have until 2 p.m. on July 15 to secure a long-term deal. If not, Thomas can sign the one-year contract and play on the guaranteed tag this season. Elway sits two-for-two in these situations, having worked out deals with kicker Matt Prater and left tackle Ryan Clady. Going three-for-three represents a challenge even for a former top Major League Baseball prospect like Elway. The sides began discussing an extension a year ago but have been unable to bridge the gap. Thomas ranks among the game's elite. The Broncos have said they want to sign him long term. However, they would like it at a fair cost that represents a compromise by both sides.
The author says: the Broncos are attempting, it appears, to find a balance between respect and restraint. They know Thomas is a playmaker. The also know Thomas is better than Mike Wallace, the game's second-highest paid receiver with $30 million guaranteed on his contract. They also realize that the entire industry views the contract of top-paid wideout Calvin Johnson, whom Thomas has said he believes he's better than, as an outlier. It has tangled the web with Dez Bryant's talks with the Cowboys; he's in the same franchise-tag situation as Thomas. Thomas is third on our WR list but his ADP shows he's been the fourth WR off the board at the position. We project him for 106 catches and over 1,500 yards.
Depends on whom you believe.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Monday on ESPN Radio: “Despite reports that they think a deal could be coming down this week. Today, a deal doesn’t sound like it’s close. It doesn’t sound like anything’s close.”
“A week from now? We may be having an entirely different conversation. Last moment, one side steps up, the other side gives in, they meet in the middle. But today, as we stand, I don’t think we’re going to get a deal with Dez Bryant.”
Meanwhile, CBSSports.com reporter Jason La Canfora tweeted: “Sounds like a Dez Bryant deal isn’t out of the question this week. Expect things to continue evolving and possibly conclude by midweek.”
The Cowboys placed the franchise tag on Bryant but he hasn't signed the $13 million tender. The deadline is July 15 for the Cowboys to reach a long-term deal with Bryant. Bryant has threatened to sit out the first game of the season if no deal is in place. In a twist, Bryant recently shot a Sunday Night Football promo for the same game he threatened not to attend, the story said. Bryant would cost himself $754,000 for each game he skipped, according to the article. Bryant is fourth on our WR list, but is actually going late first round ahead of our third ranked WR Demaryius Thomas.
With the deadline to agree to a long-term deal coming July 15, Tom Condon, the agent for wide receiver Dez Bryant, and the Dallas Cowboys had their first face-to-face meeting in nearly four months within the past week, according to sources.
Last month, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said the team would make a push to sign Bryant to a deal, but much work remains before that actually happens.
Bryant has yet to sign his $12.823 million franchise tag tender in hopes of a deal with larger guaranteed money. Bryant's camp has threatened to miss regular-season games even though there would be no financial incentive. After July 15, Bryant has to play the season on the tender and the two sides could begin negotiations again after the season.
Bryant missed most of the Cowboys' offseason program, showing up for a handful of workouts and an organized team activity, according to the story. Bryant attended the final day of the Cowboys' mandatory minicamp on June 18 but did not practice. The Cowboys do not believe the threat to miss games because it would cost Bryant roughly $754,000 each week. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he believes Bryant will be "leading the way" when the Cowboys open the season Sept. 13 against the New York Giants. Bryant is ranked fourth on our WR list with an ADP of late in the first round.
A quick canvas of the league revealed 10 No. 1-caliber receivers: Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, Alshon Jeffrey, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, DeMaryius Thomas, Jordy Nelson, T.Y. Hilton, Odell Beckham and Antonio Brown.
Robinson, the Jaguars’ second-year receiver, is below that level, but on this team at this moment, he’s the best.
Robinson averaged 5.2 catches for 61 yards and 0.22 TD from Week 2 to Week 10, which extrapolates to an 84-974-3.6 over the course of a full 16-game season. He posted fringe WR2-type numbers before suffering a stress fracture in his foot. The Jacksonville receiving corps should feature Robinson, Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns. If QB Blake Bortles can progress, this could be a dangerous passing game, and Robinson would be the primary beneficiary.
Williams was competing for a pass against first-round pick cornerback Byron Jones over the middle of the field in team drills and came down awkwardly on his left arm. Williams suffered a bruised left elbow, and X-rays came back negative.Williams was competing for a pass against first-round pick cornerback Byron Jones over the middle of the field in team drills and came down awkwardly on his left arm. Williams suffered a bruised left elbow, and X-rays came back negative.
The injury doesn't sound too serious. Williams has finished in the top 20 in fantasy points per target in each of his two seasons, but he doesn't see enough targets to be a reliable fantasy option. In fact, his targets dropped from 74 as a rookie to 66 in his sophomore season even though his snaps jumped 18.5% year over year. If the Cowboys move to a pass-heavy offense, then Williams should be fantasy relevant, though he's still competing with Jason Witten and Cole Beasley for Dez Bryant's leftovers.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen first reported that Bryant was considering a holdout that could extend into the season.
"This is not a rumor," Bryant confirmed to Silver. "It's legit."
It's no surprise that Bryant would attempt to maximize his leverage and stimulate talks with just five weeks remaining before the July 15 deadline for franchise players to sign new contracts.
Bryant would sacrifice major money if he misses any games, so this sounds like posturing. Hopefully this will be resolved by mid-July. If not, we would expect that he plays for the one-year franchise tender of $12+ million.
Cowboys WR Terrance Williams has taken advantage of Dez Bryant’s absence in the Cowboys’ organized team activities. The Cowboys rave about the Williams’ off-season work, with coach Jason Garrett contending Williams has become the pacesetter for the offense “in so many ways.”
“Terrance has had one of the best off-seasons I’ve seen in a while,” quarterback Tony Romo said. “So I’m very excited about his approach, the way that he’s played up to this point in the off-season. He’s just improved, and I’m excited about that development.”
Williams has finished in the top 20 in fantasy points per target in each of his two seasons, but he doesn't see enough targets to be a reliable fantasy option. In fact, his targets dropped from 74 as a rookie to 66 in his sophomore season even though his snaps jumped 18.5% year over year. If the Cowboys move to a pass-heavy offense, then Williams should be fantasy relevant, though he's still competing with Jason Witten and Cole Beasley for Bryant's leftovers.
Cowboys site writer Bryan Broaddus on the team's WR2 competition:
Devin Street is going into his second season and the coaching staff hopes that there will be a significant jump that would allow him to compete for more of a role in the offense. I don’t see Street taking snaps from Cole Beasley and his role, but could he push Terrance Williams to the point where Williams is no longer the guy looked as the opposite of Dez Bryant? Hopefully for Street, he can use these practices to set himself up in Oxnard to really give Williams a battle. Depending on whom you talk to in the organization, there is a thought that Street is talented enough to take that job.
Williams has finished in the top 20 in fantasy points per target in each of his two seasons, but he doesn't see enough targets to be a reliable fantasy option. In fact, his targets dropped from 74 as a rookie to 66 in his sophomore season even though his snaps jumped 18.5% year over year.
Linehan: “I’m not worried about Dez, he’ll be ready to rock and roll when it’s all said and done, I’m sure of that.”
Last season, Bryant was the #3 WR in standard formats and #4 in PPR. It was the third consecutive season that he finished in the top 7 in both formats. He is one of fantasy’s most dependable receivers. The only concern heading into the season is whether he’ll be distracted by his ongoing contract negotiations.
Here are the five players who got the non-exclusive franchise tag, and the amount of the tender offer for each:
This may not make either Bryant or Thomas happy, but it ensures that they aren't going anywhere for at least one more season. Both players figure to be ranked in the top 5 at their position in 2015 fantasy drafts.
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