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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Release WR Dez Bryant

Jess Haynie

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Dez Bryant

The Dallas Cowboys have released receiver Dez Bryant, ending an eight-year relationship with one of their biggest stars of the last two decades.

Releasing Bryant creates $8.5 million in salary cap space. He was scheduled to count $16.5 million against this year's salary cap. The remaining $8 million will count as dead money in 2018.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

The #Cowboys have released WR Dez Bryant, source said. It's done.

This move isn't shocking. Dez has been targeted as a potential release for months, with some predicting that 2017 would be a make-or-break season.

Despite playing all 16 games, Bryant only managed 838 yards and six touchdowns on 69 catches. He was targeted 132 times, giving him one of the worst efficiency ratings of the league's starting receivers.

How much of this due to chemistry issues with Dak Prescott or the decline of Bryant's physical ability is hard to say. Whatever the factors, Dallas clearly could no longer justify paying Dez like one of the league's elite receivers without the production to support it.

Cowboys Blog - Dez Bryant Placed on Injured Reserve, 2015 Season Over

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant

Bryant leaves Dallas as the franchise leader in receiving touchdowns, scoring 73 since entering the NFL in 2010. He passed "Bullet" Bob Hayes (71) last season on the all-time list.

Dez also ranks third in catches behind Jason Witten and Michael Irvin. He is fifth in receiving yardage behind Witten, Irvin, Tony Hill, and Drew Pearson.

Unfortunately, Bryant's physical playing style has contributed to his early decline. He also turns 30 in November, which isn't good for a player who relies so heavily on athleticism over technique.

Lately, there have also been whispers of a deteriorating relationship between Dez and the organization. Most importantly, there may be friction between Bryant as the starting quarterback.

Last December, after Dez caused two turnovers in the season-ending loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Dak Prescott made the following comment:

"I think I have to throw him a better ball. Just put it right there on his face mask and don’t give him a chance to drop it, I guess."

If that quote is any indication, things between Prescott and Bryant may not be great. And even if there is no locker room rift, their lack of chemistry on the field has been evident for two years.

Whatever the case or the cause, they definitely aren't each other's problem anymore.

Allen Hurns

Dallas Cowboys WR Allen Hurns

Perhaps in anticipation of moving on from Bryant, Dallas signed free agent Allen Hurns to a contract paying him about $6 million per year. He will have the same base salary as Terrance Williams in 2018.

Given what we already know about Williams, Hurns seems like the best bet to emerge as the top receiver now.

In 2015, Allen had a 1,000-yard season to go along with 10 touchdowns. He was the second receiver, though, with Allen Robinson putting up even bigger numbers.

Terrance Williams isn't Allen Robinson, and Allen Hurns probably isn't either. The Cowboys may be going into 2018 with two secondary receivers at the top of the depth chart.

While the Cowboys have a solid depth chart at receiver, none of their current talent is going to be able to take over as the primary target on offense.

Thankfully, the NFL Draft is just two weeks away.

Dallas could easily be targeting a WR in the first round now, and probably should be. Not only could a top talent be useful this year, but Cole Beasley's contract is about to expire and Terrance Williams could be released next offseason.

The discussion of what's next at the receiver position is sure to rage on for a while. The glamour positions always get more attention.

Cowboys Blog - 1

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

What we know now is that one of the most glamorous players in Cowboys history is gone. No matter what happens on the field, Dez Bryant won't be easily replaced as a highlight-maker or in the hearts of Cowboys fans.

Even if you feel that moving on from Dez was the right move, it's still a sad day. Bryant never got a chance to enjoy championship success with the Cowboys and was certainly talented enough to do so.

His best chance in 2014 was taken away by one of the biggest blown calls in NFL history. The biggest play of his career will be remembered for what it stole from the team, and from Dez himself.

If only we could turn back time. If that catch in Green Bay would have been called correctly, the Cowboys were poised to go on to bigger and better things. Dez Bryant, like Tony Romo, was good enough to win it all. Unfortunately, circumstances never allowed for it to happen.

While the team hasn't enjoyed the Super Bowl success that it did in the 70s or 90s, Bryant has been one of the most entertaining players in recent memory, and one of the top receivers in the league for most of his career.

The Cowboys expected a lot when they gave Dez Bryant that #88 jersey, and he's done a fine job of carrying on the legacy of Pearson and Irvin.

But now we say goodbye, and look ahead to a Dallas without Dez.

Time will tell if it was the right move.


Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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6 Comments
  • Corey

    I honestly think this was the dumbest move Jerry could have made. Now who is Dak going to throw the ball to? Hopefully Allan Hurns can step up because Terrance Williams needs a net to catch anything, and Beasley and Switzer are ok. Dallas is almost going to have to go after a WR in the 1st. rd. and they may have to trade up to do it.

    • Hector Espindola

      I do agree, WR seems coming at 1st round. That’s why the stacked the D line. So, 1Tech also will fall beyond 4th, LB at 2nd and G at 3rd, if no trades are done.

  • Saul Molina

    Hey it is what it is I love dez but numbers don’t lie ever since he got the contract he hasn’t produced wish him all the best but one thing I will tell you homie this little rumor that supposedly you said you were going to go to the division rivals go ahead we will see you twice a year Lewis and chidobe will be waiting on you and lee smith and heath will be waiting and will not hesitate to light that ass up

  • oneputter

    i said it all of last year and even his rookie season, dak can only see one side of the field. he holds on to the ball too long, he waits for WR’s to get 10 yds of spereration, this is the NFL not NCAA. a lot of this “lack of chemistry” is on dak. we’ll see how he has developed this off season

    big mistake to get rid of dez, they should have at least bit the bullet this year, more of a chance to restructure next year.

    oh well, we are the cowboys and we continue to do stupid stuff, are any of you surprised?

    he goes to a division rival and i guarantee he lights us up…..

  • Steve

    I was up in the air about the move myself, but as Saul said “numbers don’t lie” and I believe we move on with Hurns as our #1 and Williams as the #2 for this year Beas/Switzer in the slot and I’m sure we will draft a wideout in the 1st this yr. I appreciate Dez and all that he did, BUT one thing for sure is Dak and We fans dont have to deal with his pouty a$$ when he doesn’t get the ball thrown to him or whenever he drops it and blames everybody but himself! Onward and upward with BIG D!!!!

  • Derek Robinson

    No doubt this was the best business decision for the team. But the worst for fans of number 88. This guy was my favorite player on the team. And I loved every dynamic play he ever made for my Boys. But I think once the draft is over and camp starts, and we make our final cuts to get our 53 man roster. Dez want really be missed that much. This will be a totally new offence. No more 1st and goals trying to throw to Dez on every down. No more predicting our plays before we’re even out of the huddle. “All New” Think about paying a employee an outrageous amount of money for the next 2 year, knowing it would only get worse.

Player News

REPORT: Cowboys DE/DT David Irving Suspected of Domestic Violence

Jess Haynie

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David Irving

[4/24/18 UPDATE: Irving's accuser has since recanted with police. However, the NFL could still investigate under their domestic violence policy.]

ORIGINAL STORY

Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving is under investigation by Frisco, TX police for charges of domestic violence, according to a report by Jobin Panicker of WFAA-ABC in Dallas.

The following was tweeted from Panicker's account not long ago:

Jobin Panicker on Twitter

BREAKING @FriscoPD confirms it is investigating serious allegations against Cowboys player David Irving. No arrests. Assault-Bodily Injury, Unlawful Restraint, & Assault-Impeding Breath and Circulation @wfaa

Jobin Panicker on Twitter

BREAKING @FriscoPD confirms allegations made against Cowboys player David Irving were reported on April 22nd. At two separate times: 5pm & 10pm. Allegations made by girlfriend @wfaa

The veracity of the accusations are certainly not ours to judge, but other recent events on Irving's social suggest he is in the middle of a breakup with his girlfriend. Posts early this morning on his Twitter account appeared to be from an unauthorized user, and David later posted on both Twitter and Instagram that someone had hacked him.

Furthermore, Irving shared that he was already taking steps due to the volatile situation.

David Ja Rodd Irving on Twitter

@DCBlueStar Changed the locks yesterday

While personal lives should stay that way, Cowboys fans are understandably concerned after what happened last year with Ezekiel Elliott. As we saw then, Roger Goodell's "justice" system allows for just an accusation to lead to a suspension. There is no burden of proof on the accuser.

And as in that case, even if the police dismiss the allegation, the NFL can still pursue the matter under the personal conduct and domestic violence policies.

It would be nice to just say "let the process play out," but the NFL commissioner doesn't hold himself to that standard. Therefore, we have to report this as it could mean consequences for David Irving and the Dallas Cowboys no matter how legitimate the claims are.


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Jaylon Smith Practicing Without AFO Brace

John Williams

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Jaylon Smith Voted Cowboys' Ed Block Courage Award Winner 1

A lot of the talk circling the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL Draft is the need for the Cowboys to draft a linebacker as insurance to Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith's injury issues.

One of the questions, Sean Lee, will always be a question. When he's on the field, he's as good a linebacker as there is in the NFL. In 2016, he finally got in a near full season and rewarded the Dallas Cowboys with an All-Pro season that led the team to the playoffs. Talent has never been the issue with Lee. Keeping him on the field has been.

Jaylon Smith's question isn't his health as much as it is his recovery. The surgery to repair his ACL and MCL that he suffered at the end of his final season at Notre Dame was considered a success. There was a caveat, however, that there was no telling how much functionality would return because of the massive nerve injury that occurred.

Last year, Jaylon Smith actually played football games. No small step. In some games he made some plays and in other games, it was clear that he was still struggling with changing directions and running with receivers and running backs in coverage.

Time is Jaylon's biggest ally and another offseason removed from his injury should only help him get stronger and more confident in his recovering knee.

Lost in all of the Dez Bryant hoopla was a beautiful little nugget that Jaylon Smith teased Cowboys Nation with last week.

Jaylon provided a great look at his training regimen on the first day of team workouts and if you look closely, you'll see with a Clear Eye View that Jaylon Smith isn't wearing a brace, tape, or any other kind of support. On his knee or foot.

Jaylon Smith on Twitter

Focused vision, Determined belief, Earned dreams. #ClearEyeView

Remember that even after Jaylon was playing and practicing without a knee brace, he was still requiring an AFO brace to help with his foot drop.

Oh, how much one offseason can change things.

Mike Fisher, now of 247Sports.com, quoted Smith as saying, "I have more power and more flexibility now. And the dropfoot (issue) is fading. Absolutely!'' over on Scout.com, and there was this:

"As our colleague Bryan Broaddus has previously noted, it does seem that some of the testing is behind him, that the nerve is regenerating, that the repaired knee is stronger than ever and that more improvement is ahead of him. Smith's 6-2, 245-pound body is about as sculpted as is imaginable. His mind is sculpted, too, the result of his faith and his intellect and his personality and more. He suggests now that more improvement is inevitable, and that includes the medical improvement that is now, to him, simply "a matter of timing.'''

Mike Fisher - 105.3 The Fan and 247Sports.com

There is still a lot of hope around The Star and Cowboys Nation that Jaylon Smith can return to the All-American form that was projecting him as a top-five talent in the 2016 NFL Draft. If he's healthy and moving with better lateral movement and agility than he was in 2017, that's a huge step forward for Jaylon Smith and the Dallas Cowboys.

The progression of his knee and his confidence in said knee is going to be a huge determining factor in Dallas' plans to draft a linebacker. If they feel confident that he will be a more functional linebacker in 2018 than he was in 2017, then perhaps they could wait until day two or three to address the linebacker position.

We can't fully know their intentions as we get closer to draft day. How they address the linebacker position in the 2018 NFL Draft could give us an excellent indication of how they feel about Jaylon Smith's progression.

What we do know is that Jaylon Smith will never give up working toward being an elite middle linebacker. Let's hope he can realize his dreams. Everyone will be better for it.


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Cowboys Quarterback is playing Moneyball

Shane Carter

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Jekyll or Hyde: Year 3 "Prove It" Season For Dak Prescott?

A Fully Focused Ezekiel Elliott can Carry the Cowboys into 2018 PlayoffsMoney talks, and no one talks louder than the Dallas Cowboys. It’s hard to find a more affordable Pro Bowl player than Dak Prescott. A former fourth-round pick from Mississippi State, Prescott is only scheduled to make around $680,000 in 2018. It’s only his third year, but it may be his most important when it comes to his future with the Cowboys.

When a team drafts its franchise quarterback, they usually only get about two seasons to prove they’re "the guy."

Every year, teams draft someone, usually in the first round, with hopes that he'll be their sought after franchise quarterback. However, by being drafted so high, there’s little margin for error afforded to them.

In Dak Prescott’s case, being drafted outside the first round, he wasn’t expected to contribute near as much in his first two seasons as he has. A day-one starter for the then injured Tony Romo gave him his opportunity and he has made the most of it.

In two seasons, Dak Prescott has a 22-10 record, made the playoffs and Pro Bowl, completed 65.2% of his passes and has added a new dimension in the Cowboys offense thanks to his mobility in and out of the pocket. However, I wouldn’t be the first to tell you that his year two wasn’t as good as his year one was. Prescott lost four more games, completed fewer passes and more interceptions in year two.

To be fair, some of his issues attributed to the injury of Tyron Smith, Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension and many of his receivers dropping more passes than we’ve previously seen. These issues will have to be cleaned up not only for the team, but for Dak Prescott’s future.

According to Spotrac.com, Dak Prescott’s market value today is around $25 million a year, which would make him among the most paid players in the league. In comparison, Kirk Cousins will be paid the most in the league at $28 million this year, while Aaron Rodgers will make $22 million.

So, the Cowboys quarterback's market value is among the best in the league.

Cowboys fans everywhere are rooting for him to succeed but year three will be crucial. If he can improve on his play from a year ago and keep winning games, he would likely see his extension happen sometime around his fourth season.

People have already seen Prescott at his highs and lows. Going into 2018 with a new receiving core, the return of Ezekiel Elliott and a new left guard will get rid of any excuses.

If Dak Prescott really is who he believes he is, and who fans know he can be, then the Cowboys have their quarterback. If not, then the search will continue.

Prescott should be plenty motivated to be the Cowboys quarterback for the present and the future. Also, he should be motivated by how much money he could get it.

It is a game, but it’s still a business. And C.R.E.A.M.


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