The Dallas Cowboys made some dramatic changes to their pass-catching corps this offseason. None of those changes was more dramatic than the release of Dez Bryant, who has more receiving touchdowns than any player in the history of the franchise.
There was a time where Dez was clearly one of the best wideouts in football, but that time has clearly come and gone. From 2012 through 2014, Bryant averaged 91 catches for 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns per year. From 2015 through 2017, he averaged just 50 catches for 678 yards and six scores, as he was plagued by both injury and bouts of ineffectiveness.
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Dez's contract became a point of contention this offseason, as he was set to count for more than $16 million against the Cowboys' books in 2018. Eventually, they decided to part ways with the mercurial star. Doing so saved $12.5 million against the cap, but leaves a hole in their receiving corps.
Nonetheless, the Cowboys felt it was a move they had to make for several reasons. Cowboys vice president of player personnel Will McClay, who is essentially the No. 3 man in the organization behind Jerry and Stephen Jones and who plays a large role in their draft process, explained the reasoning behind the decision to cut Dez during a radio appearance on Tuesday.
"It was a collective deal," McClay said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "The (inability) to win one-on-one, to win downfield. There was inconsistency as well as some huge things in his play. So what's best moving forward for Dez Bryant [and] the Cowboys, we just made that decision. It's a production-based business."
That inability to create separation was a common theme in the recent criticisms of Bryant, and anyone that watched Season 3 of "All or Nothing," which focused on the Cowboys, could see how much the organization began to get frustrated with both his inconsistency and the way his approach at times grated on some teammates and coaches.