Notebook: Cowboys' Bryant vows to prove doubters wrong

By The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 24, 2018 at 9:40 PM
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There has been a lot of talk swirling around wide receiver Dez Bryant and his future with the Dallas Cowboys.

Bryant chimed in to say that he hasn't discussed a pay cut with management. The three-time Pro Bowl selection also vowed to prove his doubters wrong after failing to record a 1,000-yard season or reel in more than eight touchdown receptions in a campaign since signing a five-year, $70 million deal in 2015.

"I'm still working. I'm still grinding," Bryant said, via the Dallas Morning News on Saturday. "I feel like I'm grinding more than ever because of me, not because of nobody else. It's something that I want to do. It's something I feel like I have to do."

From a numbers standpoint, Bryant is slated to have a $12.5 million base salary next season and account for a $16.5 million cap charge. Dallas could save $8.5 million against the cap if it cuts the 29-year-old wideout. The Cowboys could also save $12.5 million if Bryant is designated a post-June 1 cut, but he would count $4 million against the 2019 cap.

--New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. already is looking ahead to the preseason, and effectively sitting out those games.

Beckham virtually nodded in agreement in his response to a fan on Twitter that begged him to avoid playing in the preseason in a bid to preserve his health.

While Beckham tweeted that he'd like "0" preseason snaps, it perhaps stands to reason considering he was hit low by Cleveland Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun on an 18-yard reception during an exhibition game last year. Sidelined by the ankle injury, Beckham sat out the rest of the preseason in addition to the season opener before sustaining a fractured left ankle in a Week 5 setback to the Los Angeles Chargers.

Beckham is set to make $8.4 million for the upcoming season when he plays on the fifth-year option of his rookie deal. However, he is on record as saying that he wants to become the highest-paid player in the NFL.

--New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden signed a one-year, $880,000 contract extension, multiple outlets reported.

Bolden, who also contributes on special teams, was set to be a free agent prior to signing for around the veteran's minimum. ESPN's Field Yates reported that Bolden's pact includes $170,000 in guarantees.

The Patriots released Bolden out of training camp last summer before re-signing him to the 53-man roster prior to Week 1.

Bolden rushed 13 times for 67 yards in the regular season and scored his lone touchdown in the Patriots' rout of the Tennessee Titans in the AFC divisional round of the playoffs. The 28-year-old also had one reception for seven yards in the regular season.

--The Indianapolis Colts have hired a Manning to aid in the development of their offense, according to a published report. No, not that one.

Former Iowa State offensive coordinator Tom Manning has been hired as the Colts' tight ends coach, the Des Moines Register reported.

Manning, who is not related to former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, is credited with being the architect behind one of the most successful offenses in Iowa State history. In 2017, Manning's offense reached the 40-point plateau on five occasions, tying the school record.

Manning, who has yet to coach at the NFL level, previously worked with current Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell when the two were at Toledo.

--Wide receiver Torrey Smith wants a chance to help the Philadelphia Eagles repeat as Super Bowl champions if given the opportunity.

"I'm expecting to be back, but I know how the business goes," Smith told ESPN. "There would never be any hard feelings. How can you be mad at someone who gave you a chance to win a ring."

Smith reeled in 36 receptions for 430 yards and two touchdowns after signing a three-year, $15 million contract last offseason. He stepped it up in the playoffs with 13 catches for 157 yards and a score as the Eagles went on to win their first Super Bowl title in franchise history.

The 29-year-old's return is uncertain because the Eagles can create $5 million in cap space by releasing him.

--Philadelphia Eagles tight end Trey Burton may have thrown his last pass for the team.

Burton, who etched his name into Philadelphia lore for his part in the "Philly Special," is expected to leave in free agency next month, NJ Advance Media reported. Per the report, the Eagles made an offer to Burton recently that he "didn't consider serious."

Burton tossed a historic touchdown to quarterback Nick Foles just before halftime in Super Bowl LII. The score gave the Eagles a 22-12 lead over the New England Patriots, and the team went on to win its first Super Bowl in franchise history with a 41-33 triumph.

The 26-year-old reeled in 23 passes for 248 yards and a career-high five touchdowns in 15 games last season. He plays behind Pro Bowl selection Zach Ertz and Brent Celek on the Eagles' depth chart, but saw his snaps increase while Ertz recovered from a concussion sustained against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13.

--Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen fashions himself in the same mold of Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

With Matt Nagy, Hill's former offensive coordinator, now residing as Chicago's new head coach, Cohen told radio station 670 The Score that he's excited to see his role presumably expand for next season.

"When I was at the combine, coaches would always ask me who I would compare myself to in the league," the 22-year-old Cohen said, per The Chicago Tribune, "and I would always tell them Tyreek Hill. I feel that I can do the same kinds of things he does in the Kansas City offense."

Like Hill, Cohen is explosive with the ball in his hands and can score in a variety of ways. The 5-foot-6, 181-pounder had five touchdowns during his rookie season, with two on the ground, one receiving, one return and one passing.

--Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald does a lot of good both on and off the field.

Recently, Fitzgerald lifted the spirits of ailing Arizona Senator John McCain by paying him a visit to the family's cabin. Wife Cindy McCain shared a picture on her Instagram account of the three of them at the cabin in Cornville (Ariz.), where the elder McCain has been getting medical treatment for the last two months.

"Look who came for a visit today," Cindy McCain wrote on Instagram. "Our favorite Cardinal and a wonderful human being!"

The 81-year-old McCain was diagnosed in July with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. He had to be hospitalized for a viral infection and for side effects related to his ongoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment in December.

--Atlanta Falcons wide receiver/kick returner Andre Roberts expects to become a free agent on March 14.

"I believe I will be a free agent this year," Roberts told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Just like last year and the year before that. I'm understanding of it."

Roberts signed a one-year, $1.8 million deal with the Falcons in 2017 and followed that up with one catch for 12 yards. He also averaged 22.6 yards on 38 kickoff returns and 7.4 yards on 27 punt returns last season.

"I would definitely like to come back," Roberts told the newspaper. "The big thing here is the culture and the brotherhood. I loved everything that our coach (Dan Quinn) represents. I obviously love my teammates.

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