Dez Bryant, Cowboys in late push for long-term deal

With Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys working through the night to hammer out a long-term deal, Wednesday brings new hope that a contract can be worked out ahead of today's 4 p.m. ET deadline.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Media's Rand Getlin were told by sources involved in the negotiation that since Tuesday night, the Cowboys have increased their offer to Bryant beyond the $13 million per year threshold, an improvement over the $12.82 million he would make this season by signing his franchise tag.

Rapoport said "real progress" was being made as the deadline get closer, with more optimism than ever on both sides that a deal will get done. Nothing has been finalized, but the sides have been in constant contact and making a strong push as the clock ticks down.

Rapoport noted Tuesday evening that there was "a lot of ground to make up" as Bryant still sought a pact in the neighborhood Calvin Johnson's annual $16 million price tag. Crossing that threshold remains a long shot, but it appears the sides are approaching a figure that everyone can agree on.

Bryant has gone public with his desire to skip training camp and regular-season games without a long-term deal, but Rapoport was told by a team source on Tuesday that the Cowboys"simply do not buy" the pass-catcher's threats. They have believed all along that Bryant cannot stay away from football. 

We're in the final hours of a summer-long waiting game. We'll know soon enough if the most talented playmaker in Big D will make his money.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Greg Hardy's reduced suspension, and the guys debate which players are at 'The Crossroads.'

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