In a radio interview this morning, Dallas Cowboys Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones discussed the team's lack of talent at wide receiver. In so doing, he indirectly took a pretty big swipe at former WR Dez Bryant.
In discussing the need for a number-one receiver in Dallas, Jones said the following during his regular Tuesday radio show with 105.3 The Fan:
Jerry Jones on @1053thefan w/@1053SS @Rjchoppy says every team doesn't have a #1 WR…”That hasn't been our case here for several years now…Not a true #1.” #ShotsFired
“Several” isn't a concrete term; it varies depending on the person using it. But it definitely means more than just 2018, and that covers at least the last few years of Dez Bryant's time with the Cowboys.
One could assume that Jerry is referring to 2015-2017, when Bryant's production fell off from injuries, age, and changes at quarterback. Those factors, and perhaps others, led to Dez being released from his contract last April.
Bryant received that deal after his spectacular 2014 season. Dez had 88 catches for 1,320 and a career-high 16 touchdowns. That year led to him getting the franchise tag and eventually a long-term contract that made him one of the highest-paid receivers in the NFL.
Injuries held Bryant to just nine games in 2015, and Tony Romo's missed time and eventual retirement changed the shape of the Cowboys offense. Dez never clicked with Dak Prescott the same way, and production declined greatly from his franchise-level numbers.
Jerry isn't always careful with his words and probably didn't intend to criticize or insult Dez Bryant with what he said today. But there's no getting around it; the Cowboys no longer saw Dez as a number-one receiver when they released him.
Some have argued that the move was more about locker room politics, including Bryant himself. He accused teammates Travis Frederick and Sean Lee of orchestrating his release, even calling Lee a “snake” in the process.
But just recently, Dez tweeted that he'd like to return to the Cowboys over playing for any other NFL team. Perhaps his previous comments were more out of anger and defensiveness than anything.
What Jerry said today. though, says a lot about why Dallas really released Bryant and why they haven't brought him back. Dez does come with some headache, and his ability to help on the field no longer outweighed those concerns.
It also says that the Cowboys will likely have the receiver position as a top priority in the coming offseason.