Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and his $12.5 million base salary for 2018 have been the source of rampant speculation and conversation since the end of the 2017 season.
There has been talk of the Cowboys asking him either to take a pay cut or be cut because his production has not matched his contract since signing a five-year, $75 million contract extension before the 2015 season.
In the three seasons since, Bryant has failed to reach the 1,000-yard receiving mark and has not had double-digit touchdowns.
Last season Bryant led the Cowboys in receptions (69), receiving yards (838) and touchdown catches (6), but also ranked among the league leaders with 12 dropped passes.
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Vice president Stephen Jones has consistently talked about a looming business decision the team has to make regarding Bryant.
On Friday, the eighth-year receiver decided to respond via the Ben and Skin radio show on 105.3 The Fan.
A fired up Bryant said he has been pushed to the edge with all the speculation about his play and his future.
Bryant said he has not yet been approached by the Cowboys about taking a pay cut. He said he has not even broached the subject with his agent.
“I just think it’s crazy,” Bryant said. “I’ll be straight up honest. I think everything I’ve got, I deserve it. And I can get into way more details with that, but I’ll leave that up to when it’s time for me to sit down and talk with the Joneses – whenever that is.”
That time is going to come, per Stephen Jones.
“No one wants to compete and get after it more than Dez,” Jones said. “At the same time, we all know this is a business where everybody has to be accountable. Certainly, everybody knows that. That’s a tough one. Certainly, we’re going to be grinding it out and trying to determine what is in the best interest of our business.
“Dez understands this is a business. No one thinks more of Dez Bryant than, starting at the top, Jerry, and certainly me, his teammates, coach [Jason] Garrett, Will McClay. We all have a tremendous amount of respect for Dez. That’s one of the things that we’re going to have to work through as we move into our future.”
Asked he was willing to take a pay cut if he felt the number was something that showed him respect, Bryant refused to speculate.
“Like I said, that’s a discussion for myself and my agent and the Jones family”, he said.
Bryant says he wants to remain with the Cowboys and still dreams about bringing a Super Bowl title back to Dallas.
But he is admittedly frustrated with his play last season and the rising number of fans who have seemingly abandoned him.
"I don't care what anyone's talking about," Bryant said. "I could care less. Not everybody's with Dez Bryant. They can kiss my (expletive). I'm no longer here to please the soul. I feel like I've been pushed to the edge."
A lot of plays were left on the field because of me - me allowing my brain to go where it shouldn't be. I should've been focused on football and straight football, and I promise that's what I'm going to do from here on out regardless of whatever situation that I'm in.
He blamed his down season in 2017 on injuries and getting sidetracked mentally
"I let a lot things get in the way," Bryant said. "A lot of plays were left on the field because of me _ me allowing my brain to go where it shouldn't be. I should've been focused on football and straight football, and I promise that's what I'm going to do from here on out regardless of whatever situation that I'm in. "
Bryant, who dealt with tendinitis late in the season, vows not to be distracted, mentally or physically, again. His offseason focus is all about getting his mind and body right.
He also shot down any talk of Dak Prescott's quarterbacking style as a source of his problems.
They remain a work in progress on the field but Bryant is firmly behind Prescott as the Cowboys quarterback.
“Me and Dak are 100 percent fine,” Bryant said. “Everything is not perfect. Life is not perfect. Our respect for one another is amazing. I care about this dude. He cares about me. When it clicks, it’s going to click. He got a big chip on his shoulder like I do. He wants to win like I want to win. He wants to get this right like I want to get it right. It’s a process.”