Dez Bryant never lived up to the big contract he signed with the Dallas Cowboys when he was among the best receivers in the NFL.
If the franchise leader in touchdown catches is going to find his 2014 All-Pro form again Authentic Kyle Lauletta Jersey , it will be with another team.
The Cowboys released Bryant on Friday, deciding salary-cap relief and declining production from one of their biggest stars outweighed the risk of him proving them wrong by becoming a Pro Bowl player again somewhere else.
And Bryant used Twitter to make it clear that he will be trying.
"If I didn't have my edge, I've got it now," he wrote among a flurry of tweets over two days, starting the day before a meeting where owner and general manager Jerry Jones told him he was being released. "It's very personal."
The 29-year-old Bryant signed a $70 million, five-year deal after leading the NFL with 16 touchdowns in 2014. But he didn't have a 1,000-yard season in three years under the big contract, and just played all 16 games without a 100-yard day for the first time in his eight-year career.
Bryant was owed $12.5 million on each of the last two years of his deal, with a $16.5 million salary cap hit both times. The release clears about $8.5 million in cap space.
"This was not an easy decision," Jones said. "It was made based upon doing what we believe is in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys. We arrived at this crossroad collectively with input from several voices within the organization."
Jones' statement was more fodder for Bryant, who tweeted, "Key words in this statement.. Several input.. something I already knew."
Bryant and Jones had a unique relationship because of the trouble that surrounded the receiver early in his career. Off-field concerns were the reason the Cowboys got him; he slid to near the bottom of the first round of the 2010 draft. Dallas traded up three spots to get him.
Before the three most prolific seasons of his career, when Bryant averaged 1,312 yards and nearly 14 touchdowns per year, he got tangled in lawsuits over unpaid jewelry bills and had a baggy pants incident with police at an upscale Dallas mall.
The most serious problem was a domestic incident involving his mother in 2012 Jordan Whitehead Color Rush Jersey , with Bryant pleading guilty and eventually having the charge dismissed when he stayed out of trouble for a year.
Bryant also was a distraction throughout his career with sideline rants, even admitting late last season that he let frustrations affect him during perhaps his most difficult year in the league. He said some of the frustration was rooted in the offensive scheme.
"He will always be a valued member of our family," Jones said in his statement. "Dez and I share a personal and professional relationship that is very strong, and he is one of just a handful of players with whom I have become that close to over the past 30 years."
With 73 touchdown catches, Bryant tops a Dallas list that includes Hall of Fame receivers Bob Hayes (71) and Michael Irvin (65). Tight end Jason Witten, who is getting ready for his 16th season, has 68 career TD catches.
A dramatic dip in production started when Bryant broke his foot in the opener in 2015, a year after he helped the Cowboys win the NFC East and just their second playoff game since the last of the franchise's five Super Bowls following the 1995 season.
Bryant battled injuries each of the past two years as well, but when healthy he wasn't the same receiver who had the famous catch that wasn't against Green Bay in a loss that kept the Cowboys out of the NFC championship game three years ago. He was second in the NFL with 11 drops last season, according to sportradar.
After getting 56 of his touchdowns in his first five seasons, Bryant had 17 his last three with the Cowboys.
Bryant never found the same on-field rapport with Dak Prescott that he had with Tony Romo, who lost his job during Prescott's remarkable rookie season after Romo injured his back in the preseason in 2016. Romo was released last offseason and retired.
"Cowboy nation I need you to know this wasn't my decision.. I will always love y'all... forever Dallas in my heart," Bryant wrote in one post, which came only minutes after he tweeted, "let's start the process" in a reference to free agency.
The Cowboys left little doubt they were in the market for receivers in free agency Donte Jackson Color Rush Jersey , adding Allen Hurns after the four-year pro was released by Jacksonville. Six-year journeyman Deonte Thompson was another addition.
While Hurns is the most likely candidate to be the No. 1 receiver, the Cowboys could take a wideout in the first round for the first time since getting Bryant.
"No one will understand the love and the passion you have for the game," DeMarcus Lawrence wrote as one of several now-former teammates to reach out to Bryant on Twitter. "Wish you nothing but the best! I know you'll be throwing up the X soon enough!"
Brett Veach thought he was in good shape offensively after adding wide receiver Sammy Watkins in free agency, and that the Kansas City Chiefs' most pressing needs were entirely on defense.
So, he used the entire draft to address them.
After using their first three picks on that side of the ball, Veach used the final day of the draft to select three more on Saturday.
Texas A&M safety Armani Watts went in the fourth round, cornerback Tremon Smith went in the sixth round and defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie went two picks later.
They joined Ole Miss pass rusher Breeland Speaks, Florida State defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi and Clemson linebacker Dorian O'Daniel in filling out the Chiefs' defense-heavy draft class.
"Listen, all drafts are unique in their own way in regards to those players and the positions you feel the depth is," Veach said. "Every year is different."
Evidently, there was plenty of talent available on defense this year 鈥?so much so that the Chiefs think one of their picks can play the other side of the ball.
McKenzie worked out at guard for the Chiefs at the combine, and is talented enough that they want to give him a shot there.
The Chiefs figure to be one of the most explosive offenses in the league next season, even with new quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. Reigning rushing champ Kareem Hunt, speedy Pro Bowl wide receiver Tyreek Hill and star tight end Travis Kelce join Watkins in giving coach Andy Reid plenty of options.
But there were numerous holes on an aging defense, one that was gutted by the Tennessee Titans in the playoffs last season.
The Chiefs moved on from erstwhile linebackers Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali JK Scott Jersey Packers , released safety Ron Parker and even traded their top cover corner, Marcus Peters.
They made a couple of moves in free agency, signing linebacker Anthony Hitchens and defensive tackle Xavier Williams, but chose to primarily fill out a defense in need of a nasty streak through the draft.
"Your expectations are always for guys to come in and compete for starting job, or see a lot of playing time, and the higher you pick the more confident you are in those guys coming in," Veach said. "You hope those guys will come in and play right away, or be part of a steady rotation."
The Chiefs didn't have a first-round pick, but Veach was high on the three defensive players he added on the second day. The trio of selections Saturday provides depth, special teams talent and massive upside.
Here is a closer look at the Chiefs' draft class:
SPEAKING OF STARTING: Speaks probably has the best chance to get on the field right away, especially if outside linebacker Dee Ford's recovery from a back injury takes longer than expected. Even then, Speaks is a better-rounded prospect and could soon find himself starting opposite Justin Houston.
"You want safeties and you want corners," Veach said, "but you have to affect the quarterback. You can't go out there and play 7-on-7. And we looked at it as the last chance to get a guy."
RIVAL ROOKIE: McKenzie's father is Reggie McKenzie, the longtime NFL linebacker and the current GM of the AFC West-rival Oakland Raiders. "I didn't talk to the dad Leonard Williams Jets Jersey ," said Chiefs area scout Pat Sperduto," but I've talked to the kid a bunch of times. It was kind of a chuckle when we took his son."
DEFENSIVE LINE DEPTH: Nnadi also could slide into the rotation right away, and his development will be important in the near future. Allen Bailey, Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Jarvis Jenkins are free agents after next season, and Williams and Chris Jones hit free agency the following offseason.
THE LATE PICKS: Watts was a four-year starter for Texas A&M and could slide into Parker's spot alongside star safety Eric Berry. He was a third-team All-American after making 82 tackles and four picks as a senior, and a name the Chiefs didn't expect to fall to them.
Smith was a tackling machine at Central Arkansas, and at 6-foot and 190 pounds, possesses the kind of size the Chiefs covet in a man-press cornerback. McKenzie is a mammoth, 320-pound defensive lineman who has the talent, makeup and lower-body strength to transition to offensive guard.
"We try to make it not complicated. Just watch the tape," Veach said, "and these guys play hard. Sometimes you get cute. Every little test, agility test, bend and this and that. Just an old rule of thumb: Does he make plays? Does he play hard? And these guys do."