Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will meet with Dez Bryant on Friday to discuss the wideout’s contract, according to a report from Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan.
Bryant, 29, has been considered a possible candidate for a pay cut or release this offseason, as he is due $12.5m in salary in 2018 and is set to count $16.5m against the Cowboys’ cap.
Outright releasing Bryant would save Dallas $8.5m against the cap while incurring a dead-money charge of $8m. Doing so with a post-June 1 designation would save $12.5m in 2018, while spreading the dead money across 2018 and 2019 with $4m in each year.
Having carried Bryant to this point of the offseason, the Cowboys would likely seek a pay cut before releasing him. That said, they have been willing to break ties with high-profile players in the past, most recently releasing DeMarcus Ware due to cap concerns in the spring of 2014.
Either way, the team would likely prefer to resolve the issue by Monday, when players return to the building for the start of the offseason conditioning program.
When asked by reporters in December if he would consider taking a pay cut this offseason, Bryant replied, “Hell no, man. I believe in me.”
He was less brazen when discussing the issue in February, telling 105.3 The Fan, “That’s a discussion for me, for myself and my agent and Mr. Jones and the Joneses, the Dallas Cowboys.” He added that the idea of playing for any team other than the Cowboys “wouldn’t be right.”
Since signing a five-year, $70m extension in July of 2015, Bryant has been limited to 150 catches for 2,035 yards and 17 scores across three seasons, missing 10 games over that span due to injury. He totalled 273 catches for 3,935 yards and 41 scores over the previous three seasons while playing in every game.
Bryant said earlier this offseason that while it didn’t force him to miss any time, knee tendinitis bothered him throughout the 2017 campaign. He added that he plans to be more committed to his health in 2018, saying, “This time around, I want to take care of my body. I want to get it all the way right.”
The Cowboys have been active in the wide receiver market this offseason despite few major changes to the group thus far.
They brought in receiver Allen Hurns after he was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The team also signed former Chicago Bears wideout Deonte Thompson and let free agent Brice Butler depart in free agency.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys have hosted three potential first-round wide receiver prospects for pre-draft visits in Calvin Ridley of Alabama, D.J. Moore of Maryland and Christian Kirk of Texas A&M.