Two of the NFL’s top receivers signed contracts before Wednesday’s 4 p.m. deadline for tagged players to come to terms on long-term agreements. Both faced the prospect of playing for less, or not playing at all, during their “franchise player” seasons.
Dez Bryant signed a five-year, $70 million contract with the Dallas Cowboys. The deal includes a $20 million signing bonus and $45 million in guaranteed money. The contract puts Bryant below Calvin Johnson money but above the paycheck he would have received during his franchise season.
Demaryius Thomas inked a similar deal with the Denver Broncos prior to the deadline. He stands to earn $70 million over five years with $43.5 million of that guaranteed. The contract comes days after President Obama commuted his mother’s sentence for drug trafficking.
Thomas has appeared in three consecutive Pro Bowls. He caught 11 touchdowns and accumulated 1,619 yards through the air last year as the favorite target of Peyton Manning. Bryant caught 16 touchdowns and gained 1,320 yards through the air in 2014 as Tony Romo’s go-to guy.
Both players threatened to sit out their franchise-tag season and the players’ union readied to file grievances on their behalf. The win-win deals avert problems for the players, the Broncos and Cowboys, and the league.