Had the Dallas Cowboys cut Dez Bryant in February — and since it has been reported they didn’t even offer Bryant the chance to take a pay cut, it seems there was no reason to wait until April 13 to cut him — it’s fair to assume Bryant would have a job right now.
But the Cowboys waited more than a month into free agency to cut him. Why? We really don’t know. The Cowboys have talked around that, but again, if they weren’t going to keep Bryant on a pay cut, there was no real reason to wait other than indecision. By April 13, the bulk of NFL free agency is done. Cutting Bryant late wasn’t a help to the Cowboys, who couldn’t use the cap savings on any top-shelf free agents, and it sure didn’t help Bryant.
Bryant is still unsigned. While Bryant isn’t the same receiver he was a few years ago, he could still contribute. But he has been a free agent for almost a month with very little publicly known interest in his services. It seemed maybe teams were waiting to see what happened in the draft before seriously considering Bryant, but the draft ended almost two weeks ago.
Had Bryant been a free agent on March 9, when free agency started, teams that spent elsewhere at receiver might have given him a long look. But the Cowboys waited, and by doing so they put one of their best players this century in a bad spot to resume his career.
“I think that every evaluation that I’ve seen, Dez has an excellent opportunity to make a contribution and a significant contribution to a team,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said from the Cowboys’ annual sponsors’ golf tournament, according to Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. “Our time was the time and the right time [to release him] as far as our relationship, but that doesn’t preclude him from being productive for another team.”
Those are some wonderfully positive words, and they also conveniently absolve the Cowboys from any guilt about Bryant not having a job.
It was the Cowboys’ prerogative to cut Bryant whenever they want to. But for as often as Jones has talked about how much he respected Bryant’s contributions, you’d think they’d have handled the situation in a way that didn’t throw Bryant into a free-agent abyss.
“He’s certainly got the right stuff and the real question is: As every player in his career deals with injury or deals with the length of his career, I think he’s very capable mentally as well as physically to do the kinds of things that you have to, to adjust as you move on through your career,” Jones said, according to the Morning News.
Bryant will presumably find some team interested in his services. The Baltimore Ravens were interested but Bryant wants a one-year prove-it deal that would allow him to hit free agency again )(and not in mid-April), and the Ravens offer was reportedly three years for $21 million according to the Morning News. At some point teams who are in serious need at receiver, like the Seattle Seahawks or Buffalo Bills, will take another look.
But for now Bryant waits, and the Cowboys are partially responsible for his wait. Heck of a way to treat a player after eight memorable years.
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