The oft-discussed situation between the Dallas Cowboys and receiver Dez Bryant may be coming to an end. Via multiple reports, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones and Bryant will meet on Friday in advance of the start of Dallas’ offseason program on Monday.
What’s expected to happen at the meeting?
Well, no one seems to be entirely sure. Jones could ask Bryant, due $12.5 million in base salary for 2018 (and $16.5 million against the salary cap) according to the contract terms he and the Cowboys agreed to in 2015, to take a pay cut, or he could just cut the 2010 first-round pick. According to longtime Cowboys beat writer Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Jerry Jones has been a supporter of Bryant, but team vice president Stephen Jones has said throughout the offseason that Bryant’s contract would be an issue for the team going forward. Cutting Bryant would leave $8 million in dead money on the Cowboys’ cap.
The meeting was supposed to happen last week, but for Dallas’ purposes must happen before the offseason program – if Bryant participates and is injured, his salary for the coming season becomes guaranteed.
Why do the Cowboys want Bryant to take a pay cut?
When the 29-year-old and the team completed an extension three years ago, Bryant was coming off a string of three consecutive seasons in which he totaled over 1,200 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns per year. But in the three seasons since, he hasn’t come close to matching that output. Starting all 16 games in 2017, Bryant had 69 catches (on 132 targets) for 838 yards and six touchdowns. But all of those numbers led the Cowboys.
As of Wednesday night, the Cowboys had not contacted Bryant’s agent about a pay cut.
Who would Dallas turn to if it cuts Bryant?
Dallas’ second-leading receiver last year was Jason Witten, who apparently will play until he’s at least 74 (give or take a year); 2013 draft pick Terrance Williams had 58 catches. But the Cowboys have signed Allen Hurns (39 catches, 484 yards, 2 touchdowns last year with Jacksonville) and Deonte Thompson (38 catches, 555 yards, 2 touchdowns combined with Chicago and Buffalo last year), and are expected to use a high-round draft pick on a receiver as well.
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