Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones and Jason Garrett have all spoken publicly in the last week about Dez Bryant’s future in Dallas.
Not one of them has committed unequivocally to Bryant.
Jerry Jones is simply the latest to do so.
Stephen Jones talked about his respect for Bryant then discussed the emotions that accompanied letting players such as Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith leave.
When asked if he wanted Bryant to stay in Dallas, Garrett said the Cowboys haven’t had all of their personnel meetings yet.
Now, you do have to interpret their words because they all respect Bryant and they’re not trying to diss a man who has scored more receiving touchdowns than any other player in franchise history.
When reporters spoke to Jerry at the NFL Scouting Combine on Saturday, they asked him whether Bryant would be on the Cowboys’ roster
"I don't want to give any answer that implies that I have anything in mind, but he is with the Cowboys," Jerry Jones said. "He is under contract. We have not done anything that alters getting our returning contract players."
“We have not done anything that would alter counting on them being on the field next year. So, as we sit right here, yes," said Jones.
Jerry is basically saying blah, blah, blah until we get to the last sentence, “So, as we sit here, yes.”
As we sit here on the Cowboys’ tour bus. Where he had Saturday’s conversation with reporters? As he sits in Indianapolis? As he sits here in March?
Would Jerry say that about Dak Prescott or Jason Witten or Demarcus Lawrence? Of course not.
Here’s what it means: Jerry wants Bryant on the Cowboys but he knows the nine-year veteran must take a pay cut and he doesn’t know how he will react.
Plus, Jerry understands that if Stephen Jones has decided Bryant must go, then Jerry knows his son has a way of wearing him down and persuading him to acquiesce.
We’re at the point we have to talk about Bryant’s future because the combination of his salary, lack of production, chemistry with Prescott snd petulance has made him vulnerable.
Bryant is scheduled to earn $12.5 million next year and count $16.5 million against the NFL’s salary cap but he only caught 60 passes for 839 yards and six touchdowns last season. Cut him, and Dallas can save $12.5 million against their cap.
For the money, the Cowboys need more production, especially since Bryant has had three consecutive sub-par years.
“I have been very involved with not only his contract negotiation, but in many cases, his other personal business,” said Jerry, “so it's just not awkward at all to visit. We plan on visiting with him about his business. We are both very comfortable being very candid."
“When you got that kind of relationship that I do with him then I'm optimistic when I am sitting here this time next year we would have done a real good job on his business," he added.
Bryant has averaged 50 catches, 639 yards and six touchdowns over the past three seasons.
Knee, foot and ankle injuries have robbed him of some of the athletic ability that made him an elite player.
He’s also struggled to find a consistent rhythm with Prescott, who’s adverse to risk in a way Tony Romo wasn’t. Prescott isn’t all that interested in throwing passes to Bryant when he seems covered, something Romo excelled at doing.
Plus, Romo is simply a much better passer than Prescott at this point of his career.
There’s also a matter of Bryant’s attitude the Cowboys can’t ignore. A faction of the organization is tired of dealing with his occasional moodiness and petulance as well as his aversion to showing up to the training room for treatment when he should.
No one know if the Cowboys will cut Bryant before the start of next season, but we know they’re thinking about it.