Former Pro Bowl wide receiver Greg Jennings has some advice for Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant.
“Dez, take the pay cut,” said Jennings on Fox Sports 1’s “Undisputed with Skip and Shannon” Tuesday.
And he speaks from experience. But a little background first.
Bryant signed a huge five-year, $70 million contract extension before the 2015 season. He was coming off an All-Pro year in which he caught 88 passes for 1,320 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2014.
But Bryant hasn’t even come close to matching those numbers the past three seasons. Injuries slowed his 2015 and 2016 campaigns, and last year he played in all 16 games but had just 69 catches for 838 yards and six TDs. He also was one of the league leaders in dropped passes.
Team owner Jerry Jones has been blunt in his assessment of Bryant, saying the team needs more from him. Bryant is scheduled to make $12.5 million in each of the next two seasons but will count $16.5 million against the salary cap in each year. That makes him the third-highest-paid receiver in the game.
Then there’s Cowboys CEO Stephen Jones, who said this week that Bryant “can be a distraction.”
“Dez is certainly a fiery guy who plays with a lot of emotion both on and off the field,” he said. “Sometimes, that can be a distraction. It can be a distraction for Dez, it can be a distraction for other teammates. We just have to really get our hands around when you put all the full body of work together where that’s headed.”
Full body of work? That’s CEO speak for “Take a pay cut, Dez,” according to Jennings.
“I was in Minnesota and I was coming up on my third year … and again, I didn’t have the type of year that Dez had. I didn’t have the drops, I led the team in yards and catches and every category as a receiver,” Jennings said.
He’s referring to his 2014 season when he had 59 catches, 742 yards and six TDs for the Vikings — all in all, pretty similar numbers to Bryant’s.
“I felt like I was giving them all I could, but when they start using words like, ‘We’re looking at the full body of work,’ those are telltale signs that either you are going to take this pay cut or we’re got to look at the full scope of whats going on around us,” Jennings said.
In other words, they wanted him to take a pay cut.
Jennings was making about $9 million per year at the time, and he was offered a pay cut of about $6.5 million. Jennings didn’t take it, out of pride, and found himself being cut. He signed with the Dolphins for 2015 and got less than his pay cut would have been — $8 million for two years or $4 million per year.
Now, Cowboys brass has not revealed whether Bryant will be asked to take a pay cut. And when Stephen Jones was asked about it this week, he simply responded: “He’s under contract.”
But Jennings knows what that means.
“Dez, just take the pay cut, man,” he said.
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