Wednesday's NFL roundup: Bryant, Thomas sign deals

Associated Press

Irving, Texas — Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys have the long-term contract both sides said they wanted during a long stalemate that came right up against the deadline to get a deal done.

The All-Pro receiver signed the five-year, $70 million deal Wednesday, less than an hour before he would have run out of time to play under anything other than a one-year agreement in 2015.

A person close to the negotiations provided contract terms to The Associated Press because they weren't announced. The deal, which includes $45 million in guaranteed money, is similar to one that Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas got at about the same time as Bryant.

The 26-year-old Bryant, who led the NFL in touchdowns receiving with 16 last season, had threatened to skip training camp and regular-season games without a contract to replace the $12.8 million offer for one year he had under the franchise tag.

Owner Jerry Jones flew to New York to meet with agent Tom Condon and representatives of Jay Z's Roc Nation talent agency. Jones said they were up until early Wednesday morning discussing terms, and the owner felt confident a deal was close to done when he went to bed.

"There was never a doubt in my mind that we wanted a long-term deal with Dez," Jones said. "We just had to get the pot right."

Now the Cowboys can focus on defending their NFC East title and trying to make a deeper playoff run after one that ended on Bryant's much-debated catch that wasn't in a divisional-round loss to Green Bay.

The deal also ended the contract-related drama that filled the offseason for the Cowboys. First, they decided not to match Philadelphia's offer on running back DeMarco Murray in free agency, and let the NFL rushing leader go to one of their division rivals. Then the focus turned to Bryant, who has the most touchdowns receiving in the league since 2010, when Dallas drafted him late in the first round after his stock fell over concerns about off-the-field issues.

"As well as we know him, you see the kind of commitment that we've made here," Jones said. "That says everything about what feel about him on and off the field. He's made tremendous strides since he came out of college, relative to his complete maturation."

Thomas signs $70 million deal with Broncos

Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas has signed a five-year $70 million contract with the Denver Broncos just before the deadline for NFL players who had franchise tags to sign long-term deals.

The contract is the biggest in franchise history, and includes $43.5 million guaranteed. Of that, $35 million is guaranteed over the first two seasons.

Had the sides not hammered out a deal Wednesday, Thomas would have played this season on the $12.823 million franchise tag, which still would have been about as much as he'd made in his first five seasons combined.

The three-time Pro Bowler is coming off his best season.

Source: No long-term deal for Pierre-Paul with Giants

A person close to the negotiations says defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul did not get a new long-term contract deal from the New York Giants ahead of a deadline for players who have franchise tags.

The lack of a deal by the Wednesday deadline is not surprising considering Pierre-Paul's status has been uncertain since he was hurt in a fireworks accident July 4.

The person spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss Pierre Paul's contract situation. The person says the team has not rescinded its $14.8 million franchise tag offer.

If the Giants rescind the contract tender offer, the 26-year-old would become an unrestricted free agent.

Pierre-Paul's agent, Eugene Parker, has not responded to several requests for comment.

Chiefs linebacker Houston signs huge deal

The Chiefs and Justin Houston agreed to a six-year, $101 million contract just hours before the Wednesday afternoon deadline for a long-term deal, the culmination of long negotiation that made the All-Pro the highest-paid linebacker in NFL history.

The contract includes $52.5 million guaranteed, said a person familiar with it who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because terms were not disclosed.

That makes Houston's contract the richest in franchise history, too. The only defensive player to sign a larger deal is former Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who agreed to a six-year, $114 million pact with the Miami Dolphins earlier this year.

"In situations like this, you have to have a degree of patience," Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said. "What's good is it kicks off a very positive attitude for training camp."

The sides had been trying to work out a contract to keep Houston in Kansas City since last offseason, but had made little progress. The Chiefs were forced to put the franchise tag on him, which would have been a one-year deal worth about $13.1 million.