This past Friday, April 13th, the Dallas Cowboys released their all-time leader in receiving touchdowns – Dez Bryant. A move that left much of Cowboys Nation heartbroken, has also raised some valid questions regarding the structure and dynamics inside of the Cowboys facilities. Questions that go much deeper than who will be the #1 wide receiver in 2018.
The first question is the most obvious one, why did Dallas wait until two weeks before the draft and post free agency to release Bryant?
Well, there is a good chance there will never be a definitive answer here. And there is a high likelihood the Cowboys would have cut Bryant back in March had Sammy Watkins accepted their offer. However, one popular theory floating around is that it simply took this long for Stephen Jones, Scott Linehan, and company to wear down Jerry Jones.
Jerry’s affinity for Bryant has always been well known. His son, on the other hand, has made multiple comments about Bryant’s contract/behavior this offseason in a less than glowing tone. If you believe Bryant’s comments in exclusive interviews with Mike Fisher and Jane Slater (see below), in his mind there was a certain group inside the Cowboys’ facility that was pushing to get him cut. This group included both players and coaches according to #88, who referred to them as “Garrett Guys”.
.@DezBryant only truly incendiary comment to @SlaterNFL & me: directed at #Cowboys ‘Garrett Guys’ who he believes betrayed him. ‘The situation was very unfair. I want them to know that I know.’ pic.twitter.com/DfwzvGdOGx
— mike fisher ✭ (@fishsports) April 13, 2018
— NFL Total Access (@NFLTotalAccess) April 13, 2018
This leads directly into a second question raised from Bryant’s release.
Is there a locker room divide?
In his interview, Bryant refers to players with the “C” on their jersey (captains) as playing a part in his exit. In addition, the former Cowboy feels as though his comments pertaining to the lack of creativity in the offense also contributed to his release. Fellow receiver Cole Beasley took to Twitter with comments that tend to support Bryant’s theory.
I’ll say somethin I shouldn’t have and be next.
— Cole Beasley (@Bease11) April 14, 2018
While no player likes to be released, it is especially hard for someone like Bryant who has given so much passion and energy to his favorite childhood team. So some of his comments should be taken with a grain of salt, considering how emotional the whole ordeal must have been for him.
On the flipside, if there is any degree of truth to his comments, and there are indeed the proverbial “teacher’s pets”, Dallas has created a locker room dynamic that will lead to eventual failure.
Now that the final scapegoat has left The Star, there are no excuses for head coach Jason Garrett, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, and quarterback Dak Prescott if this offense sputters, as it did in 2017.