Dez Bryant Says 'Probably Not, Hell No' When Asked If He'd Take Cowboys Pay Cut

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 27, 2017

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 17: Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys leaves the field after a win against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 17, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

As the Dallas Cowboys formulate their plans for the offseason, wide receiver Dez Bryant apparently won't make things easier for the team. 

According to the Star-Telegram's Clarence Hill, Bryant responded "probably not" and then "hell no" when asked Wednesday if he'd consider taking a pay cut ahead of the 2018 season.

According to the Dallas Morning News' David Moore, Bryant wants to remain with the Cowboys next year:

David Moore @DavidMooreDMN

Dez Bryant said he would discuss his feelings & frustrations w/ owner Jerry Jones, HC Jason Garrett & OC Scott Linehan in offseason. Made it clear he wants to stay w/ Cowboys. “I’m a Texas boy.”

Bryant is set to make $12.5 million in 2018, but none of the money is guaranteed. Were the Cowboys to release him prior to June 1, they'd save $8.5 million against $8 million in dead salary cap space.

With an average salary of $14 million, Bryant is tied for the fifth highest wide receiver salary in the NFL, according to Spotrac.

Should he decline to take a pay cut, the idea of cutting Bryant isn't all that crazy for Dallas. The 29-year-old is being paid like one of the NFL's best wideouts but hasn't performed at that level for going on three seasons now.

Bryant's last 1,000-yard receiving season was in 2014, and his 12.3 yards per reception in 2017 are on pace to be a career low. Bryant passed the buck regarding some of his struggles:

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David Moore @DavidMooreDMN

Dez Bryant said he had been bothered by tendinitis since early November. Said he was surprised no one knew. It has never appeared on Cowboys injury report and he hasn’t spoken about it until Wednesday.

Brandon George @DMN_George

Asked if Dez Bryant is talking about frustration with his role in the offense, he said, "I guess you could say that." Or running different routes?: "Yeah, running different routes. One thing I hate hearing is when I hear people say I can't run routes."

It would be one thing if the 2017 season were an outlier for Bryant. But he ranked 31st among qualified wide receivers in DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement) in 2016 and sits 67th in 2017, per Football Outsiders.

The Cowboys needed Bryant to step up during Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension, and he largely failed to deliver, catching 25 passes for 332 yards and two touchdowns when Elliott was out.

Based on the last three years, Bryant may no longer be a capable No. 1 option in a team's passing game, and he's not exactly on the right side of the aging curve. Few would blame Dallas if it decided to part ways with the eight-year veteran.

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