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Cowboys leaning toward franchise tag for Dez Bryant

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Owner Jerry Jones made it clear in December that the Cowboys will wield the franchise tag, if necessary, to keep impending free agent Dez Bryant in Dallas.

Speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine Tuesday, executive vice president Stephen Jones confirmed that the team is "leaning" toward the franchise tag rather than a long-term contract with Bryant.

That doesn't mean the Cowboys have given up hopes of ending the impasse in negotiations, though.

"We don't ever want to give up on a long-term deal," Jones said, via The Dallas Morning News. "It's something we worked on all of last year and it kind of cooled off once we got into the season.

"Who knows what tomorrow brings? Things have a sudden way of getting kicked in and you start to get some traction on something. You go down that road and get that done. It's dominoes."

The franchise tag for wide receivers is projected to be $12.8 million, per NFL Media's Albert Breer.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the team has had talks with Bryant's agent, Tom Condon, but there has been very little progress. Rapoport added that if Bryant gets tagged, do not be surprised when Bryant chooses not to show his face for the rest of spring until he is contractually required to do so.

If the Cowboys use the tag on Bryant, that leaves Offensive Player of the Year DeMarco Murray's Dallas future in question.

Jones plans to meet with Murray's agent in Indianapolis this week.

The same can't be said for Bryant's agent.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews this week's NFL Scouting Combine with Bucky Brooks. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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