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Stephen Jones discusses Dez Bryant's contract

Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, A.J. Green and Demaryius Thomas represent a plurality in any ranking of the top receivers in the NFL.

Each member of the quartet also carries a contract predicament. Jones and Green enter the final years of their rookie deals while Bryant and Thomas have each been franchise tagged.

Gauged individually, each situation appears a singular staring contest between player and team with a lucrative, long-term contract hanging in the balance.

Viewed collectively, however, and we can see a giant game of chicken also being played between the franchises and players to see who will swerve first and set the table for other negotiations.

"I think a lot people want to naturally assume it's a Dez Bryant-Cowboy issue. I think it's a bigger issue than that right now," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Wednesday in a conference call with season-ticket holders. "There's three or four young receivers in this league other than Dez that are going to be looking for long term contracts."

Each player could make a claim to deserve the second-highest contract value in the NFL -- behind Calvin Johnson's $113.45 million deal. Whoever signs a contract first could easily set the baseline for the other three.

"No one has been able to really figure out what they think the market should be," Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News. "I think ultimately we'll get this done. No one wants to have Dez long term involved with the Dallas Cowboys more so than our organization, Jerry and myself. Our goal is to get it done, get it done long term, so we can move forward and let Dez continue to make all the great plays he's made up until this point."

With all four players under contract this season, the teams hold the leverage. Until a market is set, each situation could stretch well into the fall and quite possibly next offseason.

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