ORLANDO, Fla. — Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones acknowledged there is business to be done regarding Dez Bryant‘s contract and hopes to speak with the receiver in the next week or so, but nothing formal has been set up as of yet.
“Obviously we’ll get on point relative to this offseason, coming year, his health, how he’s doing, how he feels about his conditioning, working out, all of those kinds of things,” Jones said Tuesday from the NFL owners meetings. “Certainly we’ll talk about our business.”
Bryant is set to make $12.5 million and count $16.5 million against the cap. Jones followed the message put forth by executive vice president Stephen Jones and coach Jason Garrett that the recent additions of Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson do not have an impact on Bryant’s situation.
“I think that these two guys that we signed and what we might look at in the draft, at any level of the draft, plus what we might get worked out with Dez, gives us a good-looking receiver outlook,” Jerry Jones said.
The Cowboys have more than $30 million in salary-cap space committed at receiver, with Bryant, Terrance Williams, Hurns, Cole Beasley and Thompson counting at least $1.8 million apiece. Williams had surgery to repair a broken foot a month ago, but Garrett said he is expected to be able to participate in the latter part of the offseason program.
While Jones said it is possible to allocate that kind of cap room to wide receiver, it is not the best way to build a roster.
“You can do that but it’ll cost you other places, with other positions,” Jones said. “We’re not in a position to not have to allocate. And so if we did something like you just outlined, we’d have to make do but maybe uncomfortably in some other places … The question is: Can you do it? Yes, you can do it, but when you look at it may be the wrong allocation of the resources to help you win.”
On three different occasions at Tuesday’s coaches breakfast at the owners meetings, Garrett was asked about Bryant and his answers were similar each time regarding the receiver’s future with the team.
“Dez has been an outstanding player for us for a long time, a big-time player,” Garrett said. “We’re not in a situation right now where we’re around our players. The offseason program will start in the middle of April. We anticipate Dez and everybody else being there and getting going. Any speculation about his contract or anything like that really doesn’t apply to the football part of Dez Bryant. He’s been a great player and we anticipate having great competition at the receiver position and Dez being a part of it.”
Since signing a five-year, $70 million contract in 2015, Bryant has seen his production dip because of poor quarterback play in 2015, injuries (foot, knee, tendinitis) and a shift to a run-heavy offense. He played in 16 games in 2017 and finished with 69 catches for 838 yards and six touchdowns but did not have a 100-yard game for the first time since 2011.
Jones said the reason he has not met with Bryant has more to do with timing than delaying any decision, adding there is “nothing pressing here, timewise.”
“As you know, Dez is really passionate and the most passionate thing that I find over the years with him is about football, about the Cowboys, team, and so that is really where we spend a lot of our time talking,” Jones said. “I expect it to be a really straightforward, candid. I have a lot of respect for him and I know he does me. And we’ve had really the occasion to have had many talks over his time with the Cowboys that were times when you could even call them awkward, but the two of us haven’t had any awkward moments.”