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The Dallas Cowboys Have Franchised Dez Bryant

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Unable to reach a long term deal before the deadline, the Dallas Cowboys finally made official what we all expected. They've placed the franchise tag on Dez Bryant.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of weeks ago it was reported that the Dallas Cowboys could be looking to franchise Dez Bryant. 'America's Team' and their star receiver have struggled to reach a long term deal to extent Bryant's contract, and the Cowboys don't want to lose their X-factor to free agency this spring. By placing the franchise tag on Dez, it will keep him in Dallas for the 2015 season. The deadline to do so is today, and as expected, the Cowboys have made it official.

Dez has made it known that he's looking to stay in Dallas, and he and the Cowboys were reportedly close to reaching an agreement last season. However, Dez ended up changing agents, which cooled talks.

The Cowboys and Dez can still get a deal done, as long as they do it by the July 15th deadline. Dez was given a non-exclusive tag which means he can negotiate with other teams until the deadline. If a deal is reached the Cowboys would have to decide to either match the offer, or receive two first-round draft picks.

Most still expect Dez to remain a Cowboy for the foreseeable future, but the relationship between Dez and the front office has become somewhat fractured in recent months.

As the two parties looked to do a deal before the franchise tag deadline, matters took a turn for the worse when ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio blurted out on the radio long whispered rumors of a Ray-Rice-like video involving Dez. It seemed that nearly every major sporting outlet ran wild with speculation last week as it was reported the video was being shopped around. Some even guaranteed the video will come out in the face of relentless pressure from the media. Here we are several days later though, and there's still no video. With each passing hour, and after taking the time to comb through all the reports, it doesn't look like there ever was a video to begin with.

Dallas fans are still hoping that Dez and the Cowboys can come to terms, as most would be upset to see 88 take his talents elsewhere. It's a stressful time for the former Oklahoma State star, but don't worry, he's still making more than you and I. The tag sets up Dez for a $12.823 million dollar pay day this year, the average of the top five wide receiver NFL salaries in 2015.

Where would you like to see Dez Bryant end up in the long term? Vote in the poll below, and let us know your reasoning in the comments!