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Calvin Johnson's contract causing headaches for other teams

It seems that Calvin Johnson's contract has had a major impact on the negotiations the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos have been having with their star free-agent wide receivers.

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There's not a whole lot going on in the world of the NFL right now, but Wednesday is a pretty important day for the five players who received the franchise tag this year. I say that because the deadline for those players to sign long-term deals with their respective teams is Wednesday. After that point, it's either sign the franchise tag or stay at home, and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant is apparently strongly considering the latter option:

Bryant and the Denver Broncos' Demaryius Thomas are both seeking long-term deals after being franchised, and there seemingly hasn't been much progress in either player's negotiations. Interestingly enough, it appears that the contract extension Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson received back in 2012 has a lot to do with the lack of progress in those negotiations, and talk of Johnson's deal is now at the center of a possible collusion complaint from the NFLPA over the Cowboys and Broncos' actions. From Pro Football Talk:

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, both teams have taken the position that proposals made on behalf of the players are too high, explaining that Johnson’s deal doesn’t reflect the receiver market because that contract was influenced by the salary-cap numbers generated by Johnson’s enormous rookie contract from 2007, four years before the launch of the current rookie wage scale.

That collusion allegation apparently stems from a conversation between the Cowboys' Stephen Jones and the Broncos' John Elway. It's probably going to be hard to prove what went down in that conversation, but the NFLPA seems to be alleging that the Cowboys and Broncos have both decided that Johnson's deal "has no relevance to other receivers." That may actually be a fair point, but it's clear that Bryant and Thomas aren't buying it:

It's tough to imagine Bryant or Thomas getting a deal bigger than the one Johnson received from the Lions, at least with their current teams. Either way, the headaches the Cowboys and Broncos are dealing with in these negotiations are just another example of how flawed the previous CBA was. Had there been a rookie wage scale in place when the Lions drafted Johnson, chances are he would have received a much more team-friendly extension. Instead, though, the Lions broke the bank and then some to extend Johnson, and that has had a lasting effect with other teams struggling to get deals done with their own star receivers.

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