FRISCO, Texas – The Dez Bryant era in Dallas has ended. After months of speculation, the Cowboys released Bryant and will move in a different direction at wide receiver.
The DallasCowboys.com staff reacts to Friday's breaking news:
Bryan Broaddus: I take no joy from what I said during our Writer's Roundtable this week. I personally didn't want to see Dez Bryant go, but there were just too many things lining up for it to take place. The lack of conversation between the front office and Bryant after the season. The timing of the meeting with Jerry Jones. The signing of Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson and the pre-draft visits with two of the top receivers. It honestly didn't take a former scout to figure out what was about to happen. It's never easy to release one of your most recognizable players. As people like to say, the struggle is real. Jerry Jones in his statement said that he and Dez share a personal and professional relationship that is very strong. Jerry was like a father to Dez. He took a chance on him when others felt it wasn't wise. When Dez was in trouble, Jerry was there to pull him through it. Dez needed Jerry just as much as Jerry needed Dez. Working for this organization, you learn how much Jerry values opinion from those around him. He said that the group arrived at this crossroads collectively with the input of several voices within the organization. This has been the Cowboy Way for some 30 years now. Was it the right move? We'll see. For those that offered their opinion to release Dez, my hope is that they will still be around, because if it doesn't work out, they could realize the same fate.
Rob Phillips:In 2009, the Cowboys let Terrell Owens go when he was clearly the best receiver on the team. They didn't know it then, but Miles Austin would eventually take his place as a Pro Bowl starter that year. No matter what happens in the draft, this looks like a huge opportunity for Allen Hurns to step up and become a consistent, reliable option for Dak Prescott on the outside. The Cowboys badly need that to happen. Say what you want about Bryant's drop in production, he could still threaten a defense downfield. If the Cowboys get a healthy 16 games from Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith, this offense can get back to doing what it does best: run the football and protect the quarterback. But Prescott needs someone who can stretch the field and make third-down catches. The connection with Bryant just wasn't there on a consistent basis. But that missing piece still has to emerge in training camp and beyond.
Nick Eatman:While this has been talked about for months, I still found myself somewhat surprised that it happened. Let's not forget, Dez got here when Wade Phillips was still the head coach. So it's been a long time that we've been seeing No. 88 throw up the "X" and I'm no different than the fans who are sad to see him go. Right now, on April 13, the Cowboys are not better than they were on April 12. They cut their best wide receiver for a variety of reasons. If money was one of them, then I would hope they do something with that $8 million. Go get a veteran safety. Go sign another free agent that can help this team. Go trade for a veteran on draft day with those 10 picks and get a more accomplished player. Do something to compensate for getting rid of their best receiver. As for Dak Prescott, I think the honeymoon is way over, if it wasn't already. He's no longer a young quarterback trying to establish himself in the NFL. The Cowboys have made it clear that Dak and Dez weren't a great combination and they obviously went with the quarterback. So the pressure is on Mr. Prescott now. I like him and think he's really good. But the pressure is on No. 4, if it wasn't already. To wrap it up, I think Dez will go down as one of the best receivers to ever play in this franchise. He was everything we thought he would be when they drafted him – on and off the field. And it was fun to watch him. I'll miss tweeting out the "I'm better than you" and "GOMB" tweets. I have no doubt Dez's next team will be on the Cowboys' schedule, probably twice.[embeddedad0]
David Helman:More so than anything else, I just wish this hadn't dragged on for so long. There has been so much smoke and so much speculation that the Cowboys would release Dez at some point this offseason – and yet it still took us until mid-April to get here. I understand that this is a business at the end of the day, and you want to have as much leverage as possible in a business negotiation. But there has to have been a better way to handle this situation than to play it out for four months. Regardless of how you feel about his production last season, Dez will go down as one of the very best receivers to play for this storied franchise. The Cowboys wanted to fix their cap situation, and they wanted to begin the process of turning their receiver corps over for their young quarterback. That's perfectly fine. It happens every year, all over the NFL. But there had to be a better way to handle this whole thing. With any luck, this will be a mutually beneficial decision. I think the Cowboys have a big opportunity to change the makeup of their offense for the better. I also think Dez has some gas in the tank and should be just fine elsewhere. Why it took so long to reach that conclusion, I'm not sure I'll ever understand.