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Jerry Jones: Cowboys will use franchise tag on Dez Bryant in order to keep receiver

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In a continuation of a story that has gone on for the entirety of the season, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made statements that seemingly indicate the team will do anything in its power to hold on to Dez Bryant, up to and including using the franchise tag on the gifted wide receiver.

Bryant’s future with the team was one of the issues Jones addressed during a Tuesday appearance on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]

“No,” Jones responded when asked if Cowboys fans should be worried about Bryant departing in the offseason, per The Dallas Morning News. “We have the franchise [tag]. For sure. Not at all. You’re talking about Dez? We have the franchise alternative, which I thought everybody was aware of.

“Every team uses the franchise [tag]. The franchise [tag] is a vital part of putting a roster together today, either the leverage of the franchise position or the using of it. It’s just as valid as 10 percent of your cap money available to you. You cannot on any given one situation not make [the] franchise [tag] a very viable alternative. Boy, these guys are rewarded by getting that franchise money now.”

Bryant is in the final year of his rookie contract, a deal that will earn him $3.14 this season. Set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2015, he clearly will be looking to become one of the highest-paid wide receivers in the NFL with his next contract.

Despite negotiations occurring at points throughout the season — sometimes growing contentious — the Cowboys and Bryant have been unable to arrive at an agreement. Jones insisted in November that negotiations have not been a distraction and attested to the team’s “loyalty” as it relates to Bryant.

Bryant, meanwhile, publicly warned the Cowboys about the loyalty that Jones discussed previously, saying he too is a loyal person but added one caveat.

“It’s all about respect. It’s all about respect,” Bryant said in November, per an ESPN.com report. “I am a very loyal person, but just don’t test my loyalty.”

Bryant also added he would be “highly disappointed” if the Cowboys were to use the franchise tag on him.

Bryant, a fiery personality with a nasty competitive streak that often manifests in highly publicized sideline outbursts, is having a superb season in his fifth year in the NFL with 84 receptions for 1,221 yards in 15 games to go along with 14 touchdowns, a career high. The Cowboys obviously would hate losing him for nothing.

Jones continued to stress during his radio appearance Tuesday that these kind of matters are complex and many things must be considered when negotiating a contract with a player.

“The thing is, in agreements, and these are agreements, to be trite, two have to agree, we just got to come to an agreement there,” Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. “But we’ve got to really look at how we go forward, managing our dollars. Every dollar that one player gets is not there for the next player or for another player, so this thing has to be balanced out.

“I don’t need to give anybody a lesson here on cap economics, but the dollar doesn’t come to me, it goes to another teammate.”

(photo credit: Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)