Cowboys drop big hint they'll sign Zay Jones with release of polarizing player

Sep 10, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Zay Jones (7)
Sep 10, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Zay Jones (7) / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys are close to making more signings in the last two weeks than they did in the near-two months between the start of the new league year and the NFL Draft. First, they reunited with Ezekiel Elliott and now they're seemingly on the verge of signing free agent wide receiver Zay Jones.

Jones doesn't move the needle much, but he'd be a quality veteran addition given we've reached the dead zone of the NFL offseason. The Cowboys need to upgrade WR3 behind CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks.

Jones would compete with and potentially leapfrog Jalen Tolbert for that role. Either way, the receiver room would get deeper and Dallas needs a pass-catcher with Jones' profile. Though he can play inside and out, Jones would give Dak Prescott another experienced X receiver.

Given that Jones is a Dallas native and his father was a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Cowboys, it's no surprise he visited The Star. However, the team dropped a major hint that an agreement is in the works when it released Martavis Bryant shortly before Jones was announced.

Cowboys release WR Martavis Bryant after meeting with Zay Jones

The timing of Bryant's release likely isn't a coincidence.

A former fourth-round pick of the Steelers, Bryant signed to the Cowboys practice squad in November not long after he was reinstated by the NFL following an indefinite suspension. Bryant made a strong impression on the coaching staff, but it ultimately wasn't enough to earn him playing time as he spent all of 2023 on the practice squad.

After releasing Bryant to make room for La'el Collins, the Cowboys signed Bryant to a futures contract to compete for a spot on the 2024 roster. After signing Jones, though, Bryant faced even longer odds to make the team.

The Cowboys are high on 2023 seventh-round pick Jalen Brooks, who shined in his first training camp and showed promise in limited action as a rookie. They're also bullish on 2024 seventh-round pick Ryan Flournoy, who's a tremendous athlete, as well as several undrafted free agents.

It seems Dallas has decided to do right by Bryant. Per NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero, multiple teams are interested in the 32-year-old.

It was always a long shot that Bryant would revive his career in Dallas. The Cowboys obviously would've kept Bryant if they felt he was one of the best 7-8 receivers on the roster. In the end, it was a no-risk, no-reward move that doesn't result in any dead money on the 2024 salary cap.

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