Wide receiver Dez Bryant had 838 yards for the Cowboys last season. (AP)
It took a while for the Dallas Cowboys to reach a conclusion that seemed probable months ago: Receiver Dez Bryant was released.
After a short meeting with the team, the Cowboys released their star receiver according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The speculation about Bryant having to take a pay cut started months ago. Near the end of the Cowboys season, Bryant replied “Hell, no,” when asked if he would take a pay cut. This wasn’t a new issue for the Cowboys, yet they waited until mid-April, a month after free agency started, to meet face-to-face with Bryant.
Bryant will have value on the open market, but likely not near the salary he was expected to make in 2018. The free-agent crop at receiver was thin yet again, and some teams still have some holes to fill. Bryant has been a controversial figure through his NFL career, and teams will have to take that into account, but he is still a talented receiver, even if he’s not a top-10 NFL receiver anymore.
Bryant has been a mainstay for the Cowboys since 2010, since he was the team’s first-round pick. From 2012-14 he was one of the best receivers in the NFL, with at least 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns each season. Then injuries cut short his 2015 and 2016 seasons, and he didn’t look like the same player in 2017. He struggled to separate and had just 838 yards in 16 games. Bryant complained about the criticism on Twitter this week, but the Cowboys obviously had questions about whether he was worth his salary anymore.
Bryant signed a five-year, $70 million deal in 2015, at the end of a public dispute about the Cowboys using the franchise tag on him. He was not been a great receiver for Dallas after signing the deal, and his $12.5 million salary seemed excessive if the Cowboys weren’t sure he could rebound to his 2012-14 level.
What? How so? In spite of the media always having a boner for trying to find ways to show that he's a trouble maker, he has never done anything wrong. Very motivational on the sideline. His outbursts were always about the team... not about himself. He was a very selfless leader for that team.
Dallas was headed to the Super Bowl when he got that bad call on the reach across the goal line that the officials ruled short of a TD. That was only two years ago. Things can sure change quickly in the NFL.
He’s probably not a top 10 wr anymore, but when a QB locates their passes he’s still a game plan guy demanding a double. Last season he spent more time defending should be INTs than threatening defenses. Change of scenery will do wonders if he can learn a new O quickly.