In a somewhat of a surprising move, the Dallas Cowboys cut their all-time touchdown reception leader, Dez Byant. Cutting ties with the dynamic playmaker signals a new culture change.
If you are a Cowboys fan, you can always expect drama, whether it is foreseen or unexpected. But the Dallas Cowboys wouldn’t be the most talked about sports franchise if drama wasn’t associated with them.
On Friday the 13th, the most infamous day of the year, the Cowboys cut ties with its most polarizing and talented player since the days of Hall of Famers Terrell Owens, Deion Sanders, and Michael Irvin.
When the Dallas Cowboys drafted the ultra-talented Bryant out of Oklahoma State in the 2010 draft, Cowboy Nation went crazy. Finally, the Cowboys had drafted a young, talented and hyper playmaker that would be around forever, or at least retire a Cowboy.
By moving up and selecting Dez with the 24th overall pick in the 2010 draft, owner and general manager Jerry Jones had mended fences with Cowboy Nation after not drafting one of the best receivers to ever play the game a decade earlier.
During the 1998 draft, Jerry elected not to draft soon-to-be Hall of Famer Randy Moss because of behavioral issues (wow). Jerry drafted defensive end Greg Ellis out of the University of North Carolina.
Even ole Jerry admitted he’d never make the same mistake again of not drafting an elite and talented receiver like Moss if the opportunity ever presented itself. In 2010, the opportunity presented itself and Jerry drafted the talented but emotional Dez.
Jerry declined to even offer Dez a pay cut. That alone says more about Dallas’ renewed philosophy than Dez’s conduct and lack of production on the field.
From a popularity and talent perspective, the Dallas Cowboys experienced the same hype with Owens, who absolutely dominated each and every Sunday with touchdown passes from Tony Romo.
But just like Owens-another super talented and emotional player-Dez was giving his walking papers and wished the “best of luck” in his future endeavors.
They both suffered from the same label to some degree, being a disruptive person in the locker room. I believe Owens was more disruptive than Dez, but Dez said Garrett guys had him ousted.
Regardless if you wanted Dez to continue to wear the #88 jersey or not, the Cowboys have officially changed the culture of its franchise. For the second consecutive year and the third time since 2014-the Cowboys have decided to not either re-sign one of their best players to a contract or flat out release them.
After leading the NFL in rushing in 2014 and setting franchise rushing records, the Cowboys didn’t re-sign DeMarco Murray to a long-term contract. Murray signed a lucrative contract with the hated Philadelphia Eagles.
Once Romo suffered his third injury in less than a calendar year, the Cowboys sent him packing at the end of the 2016 season. Because of Romo injuries- and the outstanding play of then-rookie quarterback Dak Prescott-Dallas no longer needed the services of the aging, injury-prone Romo.
Although Romo had become an injury prone signal caller, I thought he’d have the opportunity to fight for the starting quarterback position. Jerry, Stephen Jones, and head coach, Jason Garrett, thought otherwise.
Romo retired, instead.
When it came to Dez, the thinking was that Jerry would offer Dez a pay cut and remain on the roster. Heck, even Dez said he’d take a pay cut. According to Dez, he would’ve taken a pay cut to remain with the Cowboys.
However, Jerry declined to even offer Dez a pay cut. That alone says more about Dallas’ renewed philosophy than Dez’s conduct and lack of production on the field.
Even though Dez is no longer the dynamic playmaker we became accustomed too, he can still play at a respectable level. I will be the first to admit he’s lost a step, no longer dominant, and didn’t deserve $16 million. If Dez was still an elite receiver, well…I’m not writing this article.
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Nevertheless, the flat out release of Dez was not expected. By releasing Dez, Dallas sent a message that it won’t tolerate players whose on-field production doesn’t match their massive contract.
And if that player is a cancer in the locker room but lacks production on the field, he’s definitely gone.
But Jerry is still content with players exhibiting bad behavior, as long as the player produces on the field.
That alone will always be part of Dallas’ culture.