The Cowboys have released wide receiver Dez Bryant, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter and Todd Archer (on Twitter). Despite hope that the two sides would be able to work out a revised deal, the plan going into today’s big meeting was to part ways with Bryant.
Bryant was slated to earn a base salary of $12.5MM this season, a number that was too high given his recent play. With free agent additions Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson in the fold, the Cowboys feel they can afford to cut ties with Bryant and explore other WR options in the draft. In addition to Hurns and Thompson, the Cowboys will also return with Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley.
Bryant, 29, averaged 91 catches for 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns between 2012 and 2014. Over the last three years, those averages have plummeted to 50 catches for 678 yards and 6 TDs. He also missed ten games due to injury between 2015 and 2016.
Bryant has failed to live up to the five-year, $70MM extension he signed with the Cowboys prior to the 2016 season, but he still figures to attract interest on the open market. Bryant will have to temper his salary expectations, however, since his performance has declined and much of this year’s cap room around the league has already been spent on free agents.
The Cowboys will release Bryant straight away, according to Archer (on Twitter), which will create $8.5MM in cap space with $8MM in dead money. If they had designated Bryant as a post-June 1 cut, it would have carved $12.5MM in cap room that would have been available starting June 2.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.