Dez Bryant could potentially be playing his final game as a member of the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The 29-year-old wide receiver has had one of the least productive seasons of his NFL career in 2017, catching only 66 passes for 815 yards and 6 touchdowns while the Cowboys missed the playoffs. Barring a record-breaking performance on Sunday, he will set a new career-low for receiving yards per game (he is currently averaging 54.3) over the course of a full season.
The three-time Pro Bowl selection is scheduled to have a base salary of $12.5 million and a salary cap hit of $16.5 million in 2018. With his declining production, it would only be natural for the Cowboys to approach him about taking a pay cut this coming offseason. If they do, Bryant has already made it clear he won’t accept.
“I haven’t heard no talk about that [a potential pay cut], but if it comes, I don’t know, probably not,” Bryant said Wednesday (via Todd Archer of ESPN). “Hell naw, man. I believe in me.”
If Bryant refuses to take a pay cut as he suggested he would, the Cowboys can release him and incur a dead money cap hit of $8 million, a savings of $8.5 million.
Simply put, Bryant has given the Cowboys no reason to continue paying him as if he is an elite NFL wide receiver. If he refuses a pay cut, he will likely be playing for another franchise in 2018.
If that happens, the former Oklahoma State Cowboys plans to take things in stride.
“I don’t really do much in the offseason,” Bryant said. “I don’t. I like to be in Texas. I like to think about football. I like to focus on football. That’s all I care about. Just me thinking about this long-ass offseason is frustrating, and I just got to see what it is.
“But, hey, it’s probably going to be my best offseason yet because I’m going to enjoy the s— out of it. You better believe that. … I’m going to enjoy it. I’m going to get my body checked out. I’m going to make sure I’m right in all angles. And I’m looking forward. I’m just looking forward. I got my mind on 2018. I got my mind on spending time with my family. I got my mind on everything that I need to have it on. I’m set in stone. Like, I’m ready.”