Who’s to blame for the late Dez Bryant release?

Getty Images

Free agency began on March 14. Thirty days later, the Cowboys made receiver Dez Bryant a free agent.

From the player’s perspective, it’s always better to become a free agent sooner than later. Always. Teams spend money on, and fill needs with, players who are available when the market opens.

So who’s the blame for the fact that Dez became a free agent on April 13? The short answer: Both sides. For the longer answer, keep going.

The Cowboys surely knew what they were going to do with Dez long before they did it. And they knew that April 13 was the last day to make the move before assuming the risk of Dez dropping a dumbbell on his fifth metatarsal during the first day of the offseason program, which opens for the Cowboys on Monday, April 16.

So why not cut him earlier? Having Dez on the roster likely made it easier to sign Allen Hurns. Putting it another way, if Dez had been cut before Hurns had signed, Hurns would have had more leverage in his negotiations with the Cowboys.

But Hurns agreed to terms on March 23. That’s the point where the Cowboys could have made their move. They nevertheless waited until the last possible day before the launch of the offseason program to do it.

Yes, the Cowboys could have waited even longer. Once Dez is in the building and on the field, however, the risk that they’d be stuck with his $12.5 million salary (and his $16.5 million cap number) in the event of a serious injury would have become real, and increasingly significant during OTAs and, eventually, training camp and the preseason. They nevertheless waited as long as they could until cutting him loose without incurring injury risk, necessarily making it harder for him to find the right landing spot — and to get maximum compensation for his services in 2018.

From Bryant’s perspective, two specific things could have been done to ensure a more timely release. When he signed his contract three years ago, Bryant (via his agent) could have insisted on a term that, for example, would have made his 2018 salary fully guaranteed on the third day of the league year. (Another possibility would have been shifting part of the $12.5 million to a significant roster bonus due shortly after March 14.) This would have forced the Cowboys to make (or, more accurately, to implement) their decision sooner than later. (It’s possible that Bryant sought a term like this when negotiating his contract, and that the Cowboys declined to provide it.)

Bryant also could have privately and/or publicly agitated for his release. On the eve of his better-never-than-late meeting with owner Jerry Jones, Bryant began to unload some of his frustrations on Twitter. If Bryant had launched an effort to cajole the team into making its move in mid-March, maybe the Cowboys would have made the move sooner.

Yes, a scorched-earth effort by Bryant to get his release would have potentially caused prospective employers to shy away. There’s a way to do it, however, that would have made the point without overmaking the point. And other teams would have realized that Dez was simply doing what he had to do to get to the market while there was still a market to get to.

The end result is that the Cowboys did on April 13 what they likely would have done on March 14, and now Dez will have to try to find a new team after the money has stopped flowing and most of the seats have been taken. Wherever it goes from here, the process would have been much easier if the Cowboys had released Dez sooner.

46 responses to “Who’s to blame for the late Dez Bryant release?

  1. Bryant’s agent definitely let him down by not having a portion of his base salary instead structured as a roster bonus to force the Cowboys hand earlier in the offseason.

  2. If Dez was released earlier, then would that have improved the Cowboys chances of signing Sammy Watkins ?
    Without cutting Dez, they couldn’t offer as much to Watkins, so it does seem stupid to wait on cutting Dez.

  3. Bryant hardly a victim here… in fact, could be the reason it lasted until yesterday.

    Cowboys probably asked him to restructure months ago and gave him a deadline of yesterday to do so, to hopefully help them sign some more guys. He may have then decided to stretch it out to the limit and screw over the Cowboys over if he told them no right away.

  4. Dallas doesn’t learn, did the same thing with Romo because jerry couldn’t bear to see him sign with a contender they got nothing for himmand are stuck with puppet armed prescott who proved to be a major one hit wonder. Same with Dez, usingmhim as a scapegoat for the QB’s poor performance. Why don’t they cut all last years WRs why they are at it. All of them had lousy seasons with pop gun back there

  5. With all the unparalleled success this front office has had in the last 25 years. I don’t know how anybody could question their ability.

  6. The Cowboys surely knew what they were going to do with Dez long before they did it.

    You have no clue if they did or not. You’re fabricating drama for internet hits.

  7. .
    These kinds of “stick it to ’em” moves, like releasing Bryant late, don’t go unnoticed around the league. Other players fear something similar happening to them.

  8. There is one thing that Dez has in common with TO…he is just as likely to drop a pass than catch it. Some of the worst hands of any top receiver. Everybody talks about him like he’s the second coming. The guy is a full tilt diva and like TO gets whatever he deserves. Call it karma.

  9. at the very least, cut him SOONER, so that he can latch on to another team…. Now, the market is not so hot for a wide receiver, so they did him no favors….
    I cant see any team in the NFC East that would want him, not even my NY Giants…

  10. This is easy and it is why players like Nick Foles insist on early in the NFL year triggers. The Rams hung him out to dry before that offensive genius Jeff Fisher released him. KC was forced to pay up or let Foles go, so he went back to Philly. He something similar in his contract next year (a forced release early in the NFL year)

    The only 2 people responsible are Dez and his agent. The Cowboys are doing what is best for them. That’s why NFL players have agents. Its best to not have a bad agent like Richard Sherman or Master P. It also helps to have a great agent who would have put millions in bonuses early each NFL year.

  11. 1 yr max contracts fully guaranteed at signing would negate any need for fancy or maneuvering language. It would free up teams that change coaches or systems from being locked into a player that doesn’t fit their new scheme. And it would allow players to maximize their earring potential. Why should someone be paid as a top 5 player at their position on a 3-5 year contract if they don’t keep playing at that level on the field in year 2 or 3. It would surely make every offseason much more dramatic.

  12. Nobody forced this mental midget to sign that contract.
    His agent did a very poor job in protecting his client
    and this is the result……cut vs 12.75 mil

  13. it’s weird that, with all of these amazing ideas, none of us posters are managing NFL teamws.

  14. What happened to Dez is exactly what happens to players who are drama queens and distractions. They cant compete at only an average level for the team to incur the risk they represent. Look at the Seahawks and Sherman. If Odell is smart he’ll learn a lesson from this.

  15. I can never figure Dez Bryant out. I thought he was great in college as he killed my Longhorns. So I anticipated the same great player at Dallas. But consistency was the problem. Every time I thought he turned the corner in his play, he would let me down as he would sometimes sleepwalk through his patterns and suddenly have alligator arms.

  16. AS an eagles fan, who cares.

    That being said, are we saying Bryant is losing out on money ??? I mean does anyone really think he was getting a big contract ? No matter when he was cut he was always gonna sign a low money one year prove it deal anyway. So I don’t see the big deal in this case.

  17. Teams hold on to guys for a lot of reasons, mostly weak ones. Woody Johnson was the worst, always trying to get more than the market would pay. He even kept Tebow for months after his release a sre thing.

  18. There is no evidence to support “The Cowboys surely knew what they were going to do with Dez long before they did”. It’s just as plausible that there was disagreement within the organization that kept them from making a final decision until they had to.

  19. Always funny to see the “phrase” cut or released in referring to a Football player, in the real World and any other job it’s known as “you’re fired”

  20. Jones delayed meeting with Bryant on several occasions. Never actually offered a new contract for a pay cut.
    Pretty easy to see with 20/20 hind sight. They meant to do this from Day 1.
    Not a fan of Bryant, but Jones is world class jerk.
    Which is why the Cowboys make so much money. And underachieve almost every year.

  21. Dallas may have done what was best for Dallas (although that’s very debatable under these facts), but that still doesn’t render them blameless. They likely knew they were making this decision at season’s end, never offered him a pay cut option, made limited interim WR moves, and made the same decision on the last day possible that they could have 2 months earlier. I’m no Bryant lover, but he woulda had a hell of a lot more options 2 months ago – the Cowboys intentionally limited those options.

  22. NFL players are just a piece of meat
    Callous of J Jones and Dallas Cowboys
    just another way to stick it to one of their best ever

  23. As if it’s the Cowboys responsibility to make sure the foot stompin’ petulant childs ego and bank account are stuffed to the gills no matter how poor his performance or whoever he plays for are satisfied. Google business and edumacate yerself or go play with and pout and whine with kid kap.

  24. Remember the story about how players are stupid for not having an agent negotiate deals? Sherman’s deal with SF.
    This story points out how the agent didn’t get Dez the best deal.

    As for Dez missing out on free agency, I wonder where PFT would rank him in their top 100 if he was release before it stsrted. Who would have signed Dez over the guy they got?

  25. 1 year incentive laden “prove it” deal in NE at a discount rate with an option to extend if things go well, or early release if they don’t? It might benefit him to be in a passing offense with an accurate QB, IF…he can run sharp routes. But yeah, Manos de Piedra.

  26. I think your heading is totally off base! It is what it is, and very why they waited.It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out! You don’t let someone go, till you have viable options to replace him…thats just a no brainer…go figure…

  27. Anyone else happen to notice that in that interview Dez Bryant gave after being released he was wearing a black and gold Celtics hat?

  28. Dez Can’t run a rout!!!! he’s never where the ball is going..TOO DUMB TO LEARN A PATTEREN OR TO LAZY ..TOO EGOTISTICAL !!!..OCHOCINCO Was the same way !! went to play with Brady,Probablly best Qb Ever,(Bills Fan} and couldn’t even make the ROSTER ! That’s Dumb Dezz..catch and Run…But can learn a play book…Dez will sign with the Bengles or Browns !!! they Don’t Care !!!!

  29. The big point who cares, he was a cancer on the sidelines when all did not go well for the Cowboys, no I mean himself.

  30. Hard to feel bad for a man who’s grandchildren’s kids will be rich. It takes a man earning $75,000 per year 15 years just to make 1 million dollars. A salary of 75K is actually higher then most make a yr. How much had he made in 8 yrs! Ya, I don’t feel bad at all

  31. Everyone who is saying they don’t want Dez on their team has bumped their heads! Garoppolo will have no problem feeding him the ball! Dez Bryant dropped 10 passes last season. That’s less than 1 drop per game. I would love to see Dez Bryant in Red & Gold!

  32. Can someone tell me why we didn’t try using him as trade bait, or draft bait.
    Even an extra 3rd is better than nothing?

  33. theninerfan says:

    April 15, 2018 at 5:50 am

    Everyone who is saying they don’t want Dez on their team has bumped their heads! Garoppolo will have no problem feeding him the ball! Dez Bryant dropped 10 passes last season. That’s less than 1 drop per game. I would love to see Dez Bryant in Red & Gold!
    that’s less than 1 per game. lmao! That’s not good!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!