Arguably the longest debate of the off-season has finally come to rest as the Dallas Cowboys have officially moved on from receiver Dez Bryant. The release of Bryant comes following a Friday meeting between the Cowboys’ receiver and team owner, Jerry Jones. Speculation about the future of Bryant has swirled for the entirety of the off-season, yet, the official word of the move comes as shocking as ever.
Dallas Cowboys Release Star Wide Receiver Dez Bryant
The release of Bryant clears $8.5M in cap space for Dallas, but includes $8M in dead cap for the 2018 season. The $16.5M cap hit for the upcoming season never appeared to be the problem for the Cowboys. According to many different sources, and Bryant himself, the Cowboys never officially offered their former receiver a chance at a pay cut. Dallas has officially moved on from Bryant, in the best interest of their coaches and front office.
The Cowboys’ all-time leading receiver in touchdowns (73) has seen a decline in production the last three seasons. Since the 2014 campaign that honored Bryant as a First-Team All-Pro receiver, Bryant’s career has been injury plagued and full of inconsistencies. The 2010 1st round draft pick has accumulated approximately 2,000 receiving yards in the last three seasons. Prior to that, Bryant had three straight seasons of at least 1,200 yards to compliment 41 touchdowns.
Injuries have undoubtedly slowed down Bryant, but the greatest detriment to Bryant’s career occurred in the 2016 preseason. Tony Romo‘s final back injury and eventual retirement hurt Bryant more than was thought possible. Since Dak Prescott claimed the starting title in 2016, Prescott and Bryant have not been on the same page – to say the least. Bryant’s catch percentage has severely dropped from an average of 62.5% in his first five seasons to 52.2% with Prescott at the helm.
In an effort to improve the offense and incorporate “Dak-friendly” players, the Cowboys felt it was best to move on from the 3-time Pro Bowler. Along with the signing of Allen Hurns, the Cowboys will likely select a receiver in the first two rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft. The potential options for the club will include, SMU’s Courtland Sutton, Maryland receiver D.J. Moore, Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, and Oklahoma State receiver James Washington.
The NFL market, while very late into the free agent process, has gained a premier wide receiver in Bryant. Despite the recent inconsistencies, Bryant will be a quality starter for any potential team in need of receiving help. The passion and fire that Bryant has been loved for, and hated for, will be more present than ever in the upcoming season. Look for Bryant to overcome the adversity and skepticism in 2018 as he removes the star from his helmet and moves into an unfamiliar uniform.
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