Dez Bryant is no longer a member of the Dallas Cowboys.
The organization parted ways with its all-time leader in receiving touchdowns Friday, and that has created a stir among fans.
Bryant, 29, became a fan favorite for his circus-like catches. But of late, Bryant has found himself as the scapegoat for a season gone awry.
Fans turned on him for dropping passes and not producing as expected last season. The Cowboys’ front office hinted throughout the off-season that a divorce was likely coming with Bryant owed a $12.5 million base salary and counting $16.5 million against the cap in 2018.
It became official Friday.
But this is not a signal of a rebuilding year for the Cowboys. This is a team that fully expects to return to contender status next season.
The Star-Telegram posed this question to fans on social media: Did the Cowboys make themselves better today?
The overwhelming reaction was “no,” or something along those lines.
“No,” wrote one user. “What's the fun of rooting for teams when they aren't the players you are invested in? Am I just rooting for a uniform and logo now?”
And … “Not for this year.”
And … “uhhh easy answer. No. Which is what they are best at. They make the Browns look like a well run organization.”
Another fan wrote, “Can’t replace him with anyone available. Including the draft.”
That was the thought that Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin had earlier this week. The Cowboys have been linked to several of the top receivers in this year’s class, including Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, Maryland’s D.J. Moore, SMU’s Courtland Sutton and Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk.
But, as Irvin noted, it’s hard to rely on a rookie to come in and replace Bryant. The Cowboys signed free agent receivers such as Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson, but neither of them have the skills of Bryant.
Irvin would like to have seen the Cowboys pair one of those rookies, such as Ridley, with Bryant, as opposed to cutting Bryant.
In the end, the Cowboys made the decision they’ve hinted at all off-season, and most fans don’t seem to think it makes football sense.
However, a few do.
“Necessary. Dez wasn’t elite anymore. Still sucks,” wrote one fan.
Said another: “Love the passion, but come on. How many drops did he have, no separation and was a huge distraction (baby sitting during game). Maybe he will grow up and play better somewhere else. Thing that is tough is no one out there to bring in. Fingers crossed for draft!”
And … “i think so. dez has hindered more than he’s helped for about 3 years. i was in his corner up until the last few games of 2017. sometimes you just gotta rip off that band-aid.”
And … “Delusional people if you think he was needed. they are a run 1st team Spread ball around more without the 88 headache.”
Either way, this is a decision that fans have opinions on. It may not rank up there with Jerry Jones’ decision to fire Tom Landry, but it certainly is a polarizing one.