“It’s sad news. That’s a brother to me,” Prescott said from a women’s clinic he was hosting at Episcopal Parish School in Dallas. “Put the football stuff behind you, and what he meant to me as a person, what he meant to me as a brother, it’s tough to see him go. It shows you it’s a business. All it does is motivate me and puts all this in perspective. Just got to go to work.”
Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones met with Bryant for roughly 20 minutes on Friday, as Jones made the move without offering Bryant a pay cut. The Cowboys saved $8.5 million against the salary cap by cutting Bryant, the franchise’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions.
Prescott was at The Star working out with teammates when the news came that Bryant had been released.
“Dez is going to be a hard guy to replace,” Prescott said. “He’s a talented guy, so he’ll be missed.”
In an interview with NFL Network, Bryant insinuated that coaches played a part in his release as well as players he labeled as “Garrett guys” and captains.
“I mean, I’m sure he’s hearing stuff, and I’m sure he’s getting it from a lot of different ways, so I mean, I’m not going to finger-point at anybody,” Prescott said. “I’m not going to get upset for who he’s pointing at or who he thinks did this. So I mean, as I said, it’s a business, and it’s part of it.”
Prescott said he heard the speculation that Bryant could be released throughout the offseason, but “I can’t say that I actually thought that it would fully happen.”
The Cowboys made a serious run at signing Sammy Watkins at the opening of free agency, which would have ended Bryant’s tenure with the team in mid-March. Eventually, they signed Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson. They have visited with and worked out almost all of the top receivers in the draft, including Calvin Ridley, D.J. Moore, Courtland Sutton and James Washington.
Bryant’s production decreased since he signed a five-year, $70 million contract in 2015. He battled through foot and knee injuries and was hurt by ineffective quarterback play in 2015 after Tony Romo was hurt. Prescott and Bryant finished strong to close the 2016 season (six of Bryant’s eight touchdowns came in the second half of the season), but they never got on the same page in 2017.
Bryant finished with 69 catches for 839 yards and six scores but did not have a 100-yard game for the first time since 2011.
“He was a great player,” Prescott said. “He did a lot of great things for us, obviously. I mean, he was a guy in man-to-man [coverage] you go to. So I mean, at this point we’ve got to figure that out with the guys we got, and I’m sure we’re going to go after guys in the draft and free agency, who knows? All I can do is continue to get better at my job and just do the best I can.”