For the Dallas Cowboys, one of the hottest topics of the offseason has been what to do about wide receiver Dez Bryant. With an expected cap hit of $16.5 million this year and declining stats with a questionable performance last season, there is a full range of possible steps that have been suggested for his future. They include leaving his contract alone, restructuring it for more cap space without affecting the cash paid out to him, getting him to agree to a pay cut, and trading or releasing him outright.
In recent days, some signals have come from team executive vice president Stephen Jones, who is the primary figure in figuring out contracts and cap space for the Cowboys. They certainly have not been a hearty endorsement of Bryant. This, of course, has been widely dissected at all levels of the media. National shows, local radio and television, newspapers, the mothership, and of course blogs like this one have all tried to figure out what the team is planning, with no clarity whatsoever. That may be the intention of Jones’ statements. However, it has opened up doubts even for many who previously saw no real chance of the team parting ways with 88.
I’ve been pretty adamant for a while that I don’t think anything’s going to happen re: Dez Bryant this year.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) February 23, 2018
Tonight’s the first time I’m doubting that stance, courtesy of this quote from Stephen Jones. pic.twitter.com/vpYXgcnk0T
Whatever it really means, it has all been clearly visible and audible to Bryant himself. And it was eating at him.
On Friday, he decided to go on record about the situation. He joined the Ben and Skin Show on 105.3 The Fan and spoke about the contract situation, his performance last year, and what he plans for the future.
For many, it was, well, awesome. Including one of the show’s co-hosts.
If Cowboys fans don’t absolutely love the authenticity & passion of @DezBryant, they’re simply not listening. For better or worse, that dude lives and breathes the star. Really enjoyed that visit. Many thanks, 88. pic.twitter.com/aD22ypOU43— Ben Rogers (@BenRogers) February 24, 2018
And while Rogers obviously has a vested interest, he was not alone.
Based on that interview and that interview alone it certainly seems like @DezBryant is focused on the right things. That was great stuff— Jonathon Shipman (@Shippyfunsports) February 24, 2018
When asked about how he unwinds away from football, Dez Bryant goes BACK to talking about “grinding” for next season.— Troy Hughes™ (@TommySledge) February 24, 2018
After many years watching, covering and interacting w/ Dez at Valley Ranch and The Star, I’ve never heard him sound this determined #DallasCowboys (@1053TheFan)
Some of the quotes from the interview were honest and pragmatic, while others were absolute fire. (The language is not exactly family-friendly in some, either.)
“I’m not saying I don’t deserve heat, but from Monday to Sunday it’s a real grind. I feel like a lot of these fans forget that.” -@DezBryant— Shan Shariff (@1053SS) February 24, 2018
Dez Bryant: "At the end of the day, i just want to win. I want to be a part of the star."— 105.3 The FAN (@1053thefan) February 24, 2018
Dez Bryant on with @BenandSkin: “I really give a damn about Dallas. I really give a damn about the Dallas Cowboys.”— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) February 24, 2018
“I feel like I’ve been pushed to the edge, and I want to get out there and get after it.” — Dez Bryant— David Helman (@HelmanDC) February 24, 2018
“Anybody that ain’t with Dez Bryant can kiss my ass.” — Dez Bryant— David Helman (@HelmanDC) February 24, 2018
Bryant is an emotional and intense player. He certainly did not have the season he wanted in 2017 - nor did the entire Cowboys organization. But based on this interview, he is dedicated to getting it right in 2018. That will require the management of the team to get his contract situation right. There are going to be questions about how much he can still contribute to the team until he proves himself on the field, but you do see where this last take comes from.
The heart and soul of the team.— David (@DavidMidTx) February 24, 2018
So how has this affected your opinion of Dez? Let us know in the comments. But, um, keep it cleaner than he did, please.