When reports surfaced that the Dallas Cowboys were expected to part ways with Dez Bryant after the draft, it was only a matter of time before it happened.
And guess what? It happened … and it comes before originally expected:
— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) April 13, 2018
The Cowboys have released Dez Bryant after the receiver's meeting with Jerry Jones, according to a source. A source said Bryant was not offered a pay cut, while another source added that Bryant will not be designated a post-June 1 cut. The Cowboys will… https://t.co/WHJrHdguPh
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) April 13, 2018
Bryant becomes the last member of the modern day triplets, who were supposed to bring the Cowboys back to their glory days, to part ways with the team, following quarterback Tony Romo (retirement in 2017) and DeMarco Murray (left as a free agent in 2015). Now, Bryant is the top free agent in a market that doesn’t have much to offer in high-end talent – especially at the wide receiver position.
Of course, Bryant hasn’t had a 1,00-yard receiving season since 2014, when he was a first-team All-Pro performer and led the league with 16 touchdown catches. However, a change of scenery could do wonders for Bryant, who’s just one year removed from a Pro Bowl season in which he caught 50 passes for 796 yards, and eight touchdowns in 13 games. And considering the Bears’ newfound need at wide receiver, Bryant just might fit the bill.
Indeed, here’s what we wrote about the Bears’ needs, after they decided to not match Cameron Meredith’s offer sheet:
With Meredith gone to New Orleans, receiver becomes a newfound priority for the Bears and the options on the free agent market aren’t all that inspiring. Additions could come via the draft, which is something we’ll have to dive into at another time. Other players could become available at some point this offseason, but things don’t look all that great for teams looking for receivers right now.
I’m not going to lie. I had Bryant in mind when I wrote about other players possibly becoming available. I just didn’t expect Bryant to be available this early. And that’s not the only connection.
Back in early March, ESPN analysts and anonymous NFL executives proposed a Bears-Cowboys swap that would send Bryant to Chicago. The Bears are in a similar situation to where they were in early March, in that they could stand to add a playmaker who is a proven commodity for a young, developing quarterback to target. But with Bryant on the open market, the team wouldn’t need to fuss with finding level ground on which to make a deal.
The Bears still have $32,821,752 in available salary cap space, according to spotrac.com. So it’s not as if the team is handcuffed by cap restraints. When healthy, Bryant is one of the most dynamic pass-catchers in the NFL. And since he has a little extra motivation to possibly stick it to his old team by showing he still has it, now might be a good time to explore that option now that it’s available on the market.