Dallas Cowboys

Troy Aikman surprised Cowboys cut Dez Bryant, talks Prescott, front office

Troy Aikman said he was surprised that the Dallas Cowboys cut Dez Bryant.
Troy Aikman said he was surprised that the Dallas Cowboys cut Dez Bryant. Special to the Star-Telegram

We're just a few days removed from the Cowboys' release of Dez Bryant.

Since that time, Bryant, along with the organization and several of its players (most notably Dak Prescott), has made his thoughts known.

At the moment, oddsmakers have pegged the Washington Redskins as the wide receiver's most likely landing spot.

Current and former players have expressed their opinions and rumors about the decision, too.

Over the weekend, former Cowboys great and current FOX announcer Troy Aikman gave his thoughts on the matter, Prescott, whether the team needs to draft a pass catcher, as well as Jerry Jones and his son Stephen when he joined the DoomsDay podcast with Ed Werder and Matt Mosley.

On the team releasing Dez Bryant

I was surprised he was released. I didn't anticipate that happening. I really thought they would reach an agreement that financially made sense for the Cowboys, and obviously no one wants a pay cut, but I thought they could reach a number that would satisfy Dez and that he would remain a Cowboy. The release was, I guess, a surprise to me. Maybe those in the organization it was not unexpected at all. ... At least what I was told, was he was not willing to take a pay cut. With that, I don't think it left the Cowboys much of a decision at all.

On whether Bryant can still be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL

I don't know if anyone knows exactly how healthy he is. It doesn't appear to me when I've watched him, coming off the foot injury, he's a physical player so he takes a beating when he plays. That's what makes him great: His dominance is the fact he's a big, physical wide receiver, but there's a price to be paid with that.

Is he healthy? And if he has been healthy, that's a bit of a concern, because he doesn't appear to run like he once did. He's never been regarded as this great route runner and technician in how he does things getting in and out of breaks. He just imposes his will on people. I think he intimidates defensive backs.

One, he has to get back to health. If he can do that, I think he can be a highly productive player.

On whether the decision speaks to Jerry Jones having less control of the team

I think that's a fair (way) of saying it. I also feel maybe those voices were just as loud years ago, and maybe Jerry was just unwilling to listen to them at the time. I have great respect for Stephen and what he's done for the organization for a number of years, but it does appear [that] those guys (Stephen, Will McClay and Jason Garrett) are influencing decisions more than maybe anyone else has been able to do in Jerry's ownership.

On whether there's more pressure for the Cowboys to draft a receiver

There's been a number of really great players who have come into the league as second- and third-round receivers who have been pretty dominant. But I don't think they're through at that position. I had a No. 1 receiver. I think you certainly need a guy who draws attention from the defense. But what I've always believed is the third receiver is the one who makes a difference for your team.

Your receiving corps is essentially only as good as your third guy. ... If I had three solid guys and not necessarily a bell cow, I'd be fine with that. Are the Cowboys there right now? I don't think they're quite there.

On whether the "route running issue" is more about Prescott or Bryant

Take Dez out of the picture. If I was a quarterback, I'd expect a receiver to run the route the way it's supposed to be run and be where he's supposed to be. Whether I have Brett Favre as my quarterback or someone who's able to improvise and run around is irrelevant. If you're going to have a successful passing game, you have to have receivers who understand how to run routes, how to beat defenders, how to win one-on-one match-ups and how to do it within the framework of what the design of the route is.

You can listen to the full interview below.

The Dallas Cowboys have the 19th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft on April 26-28. These are the 15 guys most likely to end up in Dallas, according to draft experts.



Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

  Comments