When asked on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Friday, Bryant was asked if he would be willing to take a cut in pay to remain with the team.
“That’s a discussion for me, for myself and my agent and Mr. Jones and the Joneses, the Dallas Cowboys,” Bryant said.
Late last season Bryant said he would not take a pay cut. He is set to make $12.5 million in 2018 and counts $16.5 million against the cap. If the Cowboys were to release Bryant, who is the franchise’s all-time leader in touchdown catches, they could save up to $12.5 million against the cap depending on the designation.
If he is designated a post-June 1 cut, then the Cowboys would save $12.5 million against the cap, but he would be on the books in 2019 for $4 million. Without the designation, they would save $8 million and they would be free from a salary-cap perspective in 2019.
Executive vice president Stephen Jones has said the Cowboys will have to look at Bryant’s contract. It is likely they will meet with Bryant’s agent, Kim Miale, next week at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
“No one wants to compete and get after it more than Dez,” Jones said at the first Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award dinner. “At the same time, we all know this is a business where everyone has to be accountable. Certainly, everybody knows that. You know, that’s a tough one. Certainly, we’re going to be grinding it out and trying to determine what is in the best interest of our business.”
“Dez understands this is a business. No one thinks more of Dez Bryant than, starting at the top, Jerry [Jones], and certainly me, his teammates, coach [Jason] Garrett, Will McClay,” Jones said. “We all have a tremendous amount of respect for Dez. But that’s one of the things we’re going to have to work through as we move into our future.”
On The Fan, Bryant said he played hurt through part of last season. He said in the final month of the season he dealt with tendinitis that impacted his performance, but he did not miss a game for the first time since 2014. He finished with 69 receptions for 838 yards and 6 touchdowns. He was 28th in the league in yards and tied for 24th in catches.
Since signing a five-year, $70 million contract in 2015, Bryant has not recorded a 1,000-yard season. He battled through foot and knee injuries in 2015 and 2016.
“I don’t even want it to sound like an excuse, but it is the truth,” Bryant said of being compromised by injury. “It’s like one thing that I know — [head athletic trainer Jim Maurer] will tell you — I hate going in that training room. I don’t like going in that training room, especially when I needed to be in that training room.
“But this time around, I want to take care of my body. I want to get it all the way right. I want it to be right. I promise you I ain’t having nobody questioning me again. This is what I love, and I accept everything that’s coming my way right now. That’s OK. That’s fine. I just want to work. That all I want to do. I want to work. I want to stay out of the way. I want to control what I can control and I want my respect. That’s it.”
Bryant said he could not picture himself playing for another team.
“It don’t seem right,” Bryant said on The Fan. “It wouldn’t be right.”
Bryant grew up a Cowboys fan in Lufkin, Texas. The Cowboys selected him with the 24th overall pick in the 2010 draft.
“Man, honestly, it means everything to me,” Bryant said of playing in Dallas. “It means everything. I do want to bring this city a championship. We ain’t had one since the ’90s, and it really is about that time. That’s where my mind is. And we haven’t done it and I want to be a part of that because I do believe that it can happen, and we’ll just have to see.
“Like I said, I’m still working. I’m still grinding. I feel like I’m grinding more than I ever [have] because of me, not because of nobody else. It’s something that I want to do, something I feel like I have to do. I let a lot of things get in the way that shouldn’t have never got in the way. I really didn’t make my mark. I don’t care what nobody is talking about. I could care less. Everybody ain’t with Dez Bryant, they can kiss my ass.”