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Dez Bryant, Cowboys strike to five-year contract

Take Dez Bryant to the bank.

The Dallas Cowboys and their franchised-tagged star wideout have hammered out a long-term contract ahead of Wednesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline.

Bryant signed a five-year, $70 million deal, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Rapoport adds Dez gets a $20 million signing bonus, $23 million guaranteed upon signing his deal and the rest of his $45 million in guarantees next March.  

While nowhere close to the $16 million per year earned by Detroit's 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 new pact puts to bed a summer-long drama that saw negotiations flatline between Dallas and Bryant, who threatened to skip training camp and regular-season games without a new long-term contract.

Bryant is worth every penny he'll earn. Coming off a monster campaign that saw the 26-year-old set a career mark with 16 touchdowns, Dez rolls into September as the heart and soul of a Cowboys offense with Super Bowl aspirations.

Bryant has emerged over five seasons as a bona fide top-five NFL wideout: Where you place him in that group boils down to preference. Yes, he occasionally vanishes for a quarter, but Dez makes up for it with explosive stretches of play that leave defenses scattered.

As rugged and talented at the point of catch as any receiver around, Bryant has pumped out three straight 1,200-plus-yard campaigns despite constant double teams. If the Cowboys remain concerned about his off-the-field ups and downs, there is zero question about the fire Bryant brings to the field.

With Dez signing a long-term contract, Dallas marches into September with a talented cast of wideouts that also includes Terrance Williams and the underrated Cole Beasley. If the Cowboys can keep up their ground game after losing of DeMarco Murray, Big D remains a threat to travel deep into the playoffs this winter.

*The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses recent news from around the league, including the new contracts for Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas. *

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