Monday’s NFL roundup: Cowboys franchise Bryant
The Cowboys officially used the franchise tag for the fifth time in franchise history when it was placed on receiver Dez Bryant on Monday afternoon.
The long-expected move means Bryant will be guaranteed $12.8 million next season once he signs the deal.
By applying the non-exclusive tag to Bryant, the Cowboys have until July 15 to sign him to a long-term deal.
If an agreement is not reached, he would have to play the season with the tag.
The tag came as no surprise because the Bryant and the Cowboys have made no progress on a long-term deal.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Bryant would be on the team in 2015 "one way or another," as they were not going to let him hit the free-agent market.
The non-exclusive franchise tag ensures the Cowboys remain in control of the situation. If Bryant does get an offer from another team, the Cowboys get the right to match the deal or get two first-round picks as compensation.
Vice-president Stephen Jones said the team will continue to work with Bryant and his representatives, led by Tom Condon, on a long-term contract extension.
"Dez understands this business and so do the Cowboys," Condon said. "We will continue to work with Stephen and Jerry on this."
The Cowboys also have to decide whether to re-sign running back DeMarco Murray after he had a league-leading 1,845 yards rushing in the final year of his contract.
He becomes a free agent March 10.
The Broncos placed their franchise tag on receiver Demaryius Thomas, guaranteeing him roughly $12.8 million next season.
... The Chiefs placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Justin Houston, their All-Pro pass rusher.
... The Giants placed the franchise tag on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
...The Patriots placed the franchise tag on three-time Pro Bowl kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
... Cornerback Cortland Finnegan was released by the Dolphins, who gave tight end Charles Clay a transition tag, meaning they can keep him by matching any offer he receives.
... The Steelers have an estimated $9 million in salary-cap room after they released wide receiver Lance Moore.
The NFL’s salary cap is going up $10 million to $143.28 million for the 2015 season.
All 32 teams and the players’ union were notified of the increase, the second straight season the cap went up by at least $10 million.
Adding in benefits, the league says the projected player costs will be $180.775 million per team in 2015.
The NFL’s business year starts March 10, when free agency begins.
The salary cap is determined by a series of NFL revenue streams, with the players receiving 46 percent to 48 percent of those revenues, depending on the year.
... Ravens cornerback Victor Hampton was arrested in Charlotte, North Carolina, on a charge of driving while impaired and speeding.