(Reuters) - Two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys have hammered out a long-term contract ahead of Wednesday’s deadline, according to the Cowboys official website (www.dallascowboys.com).
Bryant, who had been tagged as a franchise player by Dallas, finalized the deal just prior to the deadline, the website reported, citing numerous reports putting the deal to be worth about $70 million over five years with $45 million guaranteed.
While the deal falls short of the $16 million per year earned by Detroit wide receiver 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 deal ends a drawn-out drama in which negotiations stalled between Dallas and Bryant, who threatened to skip training camp and regular-season games without a new long-term contract.
Bryant is coming off a big season in which the 26-year-old set a career mark with 16 touchdowns and hauled in 88 catches as Dallas won the NFC East with a 12-4 record before losing to Green Bay in the Divisional Round of playoffs.
The rugged and elusive receiver has registered three successive 1,200-plus-yard campaigns despite being subjected to constant double-team coverages.
In 75 career games, Bryant ranks seventh in team history with 381 catches and 56 touchdowns.
Bryant could conceivably move as high as third on the storied franchise’s all-time list for catches in 2015 behind only Jason Witten (943) and Michael Irvin (750). Drew Pearson, currently in third place, has 489.
Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones met with Bryant during a recent visit by the receiver to the Cowboys’ minicamp.
”I do have a good relationship with Dez,“ Jones said during minicamp. ”I know that he (and) the Cowboys want him to be a Cowboy all of his playing career.
“We value him. Other than Dez, nobody is prouder of his accomplishments.”
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes