The Dallas Cowboys released Dez Bryant on Friday, and the wide receiver responded with a strongly worded tweet that appeared to send the team a warning.
Dez Bryant appears to send the Dallas Cowboys a strong warning after their shocking in-season roster move.
Dez Bryant may no longer be a member of the Dallas Cowboys, but he still has views on the team’s choices. As a result, when Dallas made a surprising in-season change, Bryant seemed to have strong emotions about it.
So, what was the plan? On Oct. 5, the Cowboys announced the release of linebacker Jaylon Smith, and Bryant, like most NFL fans, was taken aback.
Jaylon Smith, a former Pro Bowl linebacker, was released by the Dallas Cowboys.
Jaylon Smith’s story is one of the greatest in sports. In college, he was a top NFL prospect, but a knee injury sustained in his last game at Notre Dame jeopardized his pro future before it ever began.
Smith became a key member of the Cowboys’ defense after being drafted in the second round of the 2016 draft and rehabbing during his rookie season. In 2017, he had 81 total tackles, followed by 121 and four sacks in 2018.
Smith, on the other hand, had his finest year as a pro in 2019. After 142 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles, he was named to the Pro Bowl. In addition, he intercepted nine passes.
However, such achievement does not guarantee a bright future in 2020. Last season, the Cowboys had one of the worst defenses in the league, and Smith took a lot of the blame. He had a career-high 154 total tackles, but his difficulties in coverage forced him to face concerns about his future on the club, despite having a deal that guaranteed him over $11 million per year until 2024.
Smith’s playing time dropped throughout the Cowboys’ first four games this season as the club added players like Keanu Neal, Micah Parsons, and Jabril Cox this summer. He was on the field for approximately 56% of defensive plays and made 18 total tackles.
So, on Oct. 5, despite owing Smith $7.2 million in base pay this season and still having a $6.8 million cap hit in 2022, Dallas surprised everyone by announcing his release. Even Dez Bryant was surprised by the decision, given the financial ramifications and the fact that he had just been named to the Pro Bowl in 2019.
The Dallas Cowboys seemed to get a warning from Dez Bryant.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant during a game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 25, 2017. Getty Images/Christian Petersen
Former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant reacted to Twitter only 11 minutes after ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the Jaylon Smith news: “I did not see that coming at all!!!” Wow!!!”
We can’t be certain he was referring to Smith, but given the time and the fact that he appreciated a response that addressed the issue, it seems fair to assume he was referring to the surprising roster change.
Bryant also seems to have sent a warning to his old club, which is now 3-1.
He wrote, “I realize it’s a business, but you don’t tamper with a team when everything is going well.”
Bryant also quoted Cowboys reporter Clarence Hill Jr., who claimed Smith “helped a number of minority companies obtain financial assistance” and is “a solid businessman and will be successful.” Bryant responded with two words on Twitter: “Very Successful.”
Overall, it seems like Bryant was as surprised as the rest of us when Smith was released. Was he, however, correct in his warning against interfering with a winning team?
What does the future hold for the Cowboys as well as Jaylon Smith?
The Cowboys should be OK in terms of on-field performance. During the team’s Week 4 victory against the Carolina Panthers, Smith only played 40 percent of the defensive snaps. Leighton Vander Esch and Micah Parsons, both linebackers, have been excellent as well. However, the club may suffer a significant setback without Smith’s presence in the locker room.
Smith has been a part of the franchise since 2016, and everyone who has written about him has praised him.
In January, Cowboys writer Mike Fisher wrote for Sports Illustrated, “He’s also on the short list of favorite individuals I’ve covered in my 30 years on the Cowboys beat.”
It’s possible that losing a leader like him may have a bigger effect than supporters think.
However, many clubs are expected to be interested in Smith’s services in the future. He’s from Indiana, and so far this season, the Indianapolis Colts’ defense has been a letdown. Perhaps his hometown club will want to sign him to play with Darius Leonard? The Kansas City Chiefs, meantime, are in dire need of defensive assistance and haven’t shied away from bringing in big players in previous years.
He should be able to choose from a variety of alternatives.
Smith will probably be OK in the end. He’ll most likely join a team where he can contribute and help them win games. The Cowboys, on the other hand, may discover that his presence in the locker room had a greater effect than they anticipated. But, if that’s the case, they should have enough skill to compensate for his absence.
Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
Long before he began traveling by bus, John Madden despised calling Dallas Cowboys games.
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