All of Cowboys Nation was taken back Friday afternoon when news broke the team was releasing beloved veteran wide receiver Dez Bryant. While this is a business, and Bryant's production dropped off in 2017, the news still hit many fans hard.
Of course, there is a lot to analyze about the current and future Dallas Cowboys roster, but I wanted to reflect back on Dez Bryant's career before doing so. The former first round pick of the 2010 NFL Draft is arguably the best receiver in the history of this vaunted franchise.
At the very least, over 500 receptions, nearly 7,500 yards, and 73 touchdown receptions make Bryant the most productive receiver the Cowboys have ever had. The peak of his career came in 2014, though it's now jarring to realize that was most likely the last time we saw Dez Bryant play like himself.
During that 12-4 2014 season, Bryant caught 88 balls for over 1,300 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was a first team All-Pro selection, and the Cowboys' offense looked poised to take over the league over the coming seasons. Before 2015, Dez Bryant re-signed with the Cowboys and claimed he would be a “Cowboys for life.” And if it were up to him, he would've been.
Then Tony Romo went down week two of the following year, and Dez Bryant battled a severe foot injury all season long. Bryant's production dropped off, but his leadership and passion for the game remained the same.
Now Dez Bryant enters free agency for what is functionally the first time in his career. The unceremonious exit leaves Bryant's relationship with the Cowboys in doubt, and makes me wonder how long it will take for the wound between the two parties to heal.
And, if it ever does heal, will Dez Bryant make the Cowboys Ring of Honor?
There is no doubt that he deserves to, as his numbers are some of the best the Cowboys have ever seen, but the way this ended between Bryant and the organization leaves me wondering how much bad blood there really is. On merit alone, Dez Bryant should be in the Cowboys' Ring of Honor, but I do have to think there will be some fences to mend when the time comes for his induction.