Putting a franchise tag on someone doesn’t solve everything. The Dallas Cowboys and Dez Bryant still haven’t agreed to a long term deal, which means the all-pro wide receiver might decide to skip the season opener.

Bryant and his agent are saying that this isn’t just part of the negotiations. It’s a serious threat, and Bryant wants to get a long-term deal done before the July 15 deadline. He’s not keen on playing under the franchise tag, despite making over $12 million through it.

Image: Source

Image: Source

This is no rumor; it’s legit. I’m just not going to comment about that. Our goal is still to get something done on a long-term basis by the deadline.

The Cowboys? They’ve made every indication that they plan to commit to getting a deal done before the deadline, but the last time an actual contract was offered to Bryant was before the 2014 season. While Bryant has made it to one OTA, he has missed the rest of the voluntary workouts. He doesn’t have to show up to any of the mandatory minicamp activities because he’s not under contract.

A lot of things in the rule book on how things are done between player and teams (or the league, whichever you prefer) since Emmitt Smith didn’t show up to the first two games of the 1993 season, forcing the Cowboys to sign a contract much closer to his terms after an 0-2 start. Smith came back and the Cowboys rolled on to a second Super Bowl title. Once July 15 is behind us, Bryant can’t sign a new deal until next season.

Bryant is arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL, catching 88 passes or more in each of the last three seasons for more than 1200 yards and 12 touchdowns each time. He’s been a Pro Bowler in each of the last two seasons and an All-Pro last year. He’s clearly instrumental to any hopes and plans the Cowboys have, and yet something isn’t working, and it’s more than Bryant switching agents. The money isn’t right, and there’s less and less time to work it out.