Count Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin among those in Dez Bryant’s corner as the Dallas Cowboys evaluate how to handle Bryant’s contract situation this off-season.
Irvin made it clear that he felt the Cowboys should stick with Bryant going into next season when asked about it on The Dan Patrick Show on Monday.
“All of the people in football, we get a hold of something sometimes and we’re like a dog with a bone,” Irvin said. “Right now, Dez Bryant is the bone. Let me tell y’all something, let that bone go.
“You don’t find No. 1 receivers hanging off trees like leafs. So, what are you going to do? Let Dez go? Who you’ve got to replace him? You don’t find them easily.
“The Cowboys would be stupid, stupid to let this boy go right now.”
Bryant’s status has come into question after another disappointing season in which he didn't reach the 1,000-yard mark and didn't post a 100-yard game. Bryant is among the most expensive receivers cap-wise in the NFL.
Bryant still has two years and $25 million left on a five-year, $70 million contract he signed before the 2015 season. Bryant shot down the idea of a pay cut late in the season.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones only said that Bryant is “under contract” last week at the Senior Bowl when asked if they expected him to be with the team in 2018.
Irvin blamed Bryant’s struggles on a lack of chemistry between him and second-year quarterback Dak Prescott. Irvin alluded to the fact that it takes time to develop that connection like Bryant had with former quarterback Tony Romo, and reiterated that it’s too early to give up on Bryant.
Irvin pointed to the 2014 season when Bryant led the league with 16 touchdown receptions. However, Bryant only has 17 touchdown receptions in the three years since.
“You’ve seen what Dez Bryant can do,” Irvin said. “I’m telling you right now, guys, back up. Back up off No. 88 and trust me. Trust me. Give it time. This was a tough year for the Dallas Cowboys.
“Nobody is talking about the thing that hung over their head all year long. It was a tough year.”
Irvin is referring to the lengthy legal battle and subsequent six-game suspension star running back Ezekiel Elliott endured during the season.
Regardless, Bryant’s struggles and the passing game issues have been well-documented throughout the season. And Bryant is certainly a top storyline this off-season as the Cowboys likely have to make a decision as to his future with the organization.
If it were up to Irvin, he’d ride it out at least another season.
“I say, ‘Let’s reload and shoot one more shot next year,’” Irvin said. “If things don’t go down, then you start making changes.”