INDIANAPOLIS –Last year, the questions pertained to Tony Romo. This year at the NFL Scouting Combine, the most popular Cowboys-related topic is Dez Bryant.
Will Bryant back for a ninth season in Dallas? Is a tweaked contract a possibility? All are questions swirling this week in Indianapolis.
Bryant is under contract for two more seasons, but team executive vice president Stephen Jones has said the Cowboys must "determine what is in the best interest of our business" with regard to the veteran receiver, who has a $16.5 million salary cap figure in 2018.
Head coach Jason Garrett typically isn't into forecasting. When asked Wednesday if he wanted Bryant to stay in Dallas, Garrett spoke in present terms.
"We haven't had any specific personnel meetings about any of our players," he said. "We had a wrap-up meeting at the end of the season, almost reviewing what happened last year, and we'll have some more meetings starting this week and then once we get back to Dallas about the specific roles for each of our players going forward.
"Obviously, there are a lot of decisions we have to make with our team. Like we talked about earlier, your 2018 team will be different than 2017. We have some guys who are out of contract. We have some guys who have different kinds of contracts that you have to discuss every year. So we haven't had specific conversations about any of those guys yet."
It must be stated that Garrett remains highly supportive of Bryant as a player and person. He also cautioned against reading too much into Bryant's numbers and consider the team's shift toward a run-first offense around Ezekiel Elliott.
Bryant's 69 catches, 838 yards and 6 touchdowns were the lowest totals of his career when playing a full 16-game season.
"We'll pull back and we'll look at all of that," Garrett said. "Obviously, he has been in and out of the lineup with some injuries at different times. I think you do have to be careful about evaluating production from year to year because the makeup of your team, the makeup of your offense, your approach on offense can change. And sometimes a guy might catch 20 fewer balls in a year, but he might be more productive with the opportunities that he's gotten because you ran the ball more, because maybe you had other players on your offense that the ball went to and you're a better offense overall because of that. Certainly you want to get opportunities for a guy like Dez Bryant. He's cashed in on them throughout his career for us.
"I personally have a lot of love for him as a player and more so as a person. The growth and development that he's made over the course of his career with us has been exponential and has made a huge impact on our team."
Jones told reporters Tuesday that he hasn't met with Bryant this offseason but anticipates a visit soon. Last week on 105.3 The Fan, Bryant emphatically stated he wants to remain a Cowboy and continue building a better on-field rapport two-year starting quarterback Dak Prescott.
Until an official decision is made, the questions will continue.