Michael Irvin has begged the Dallas Cowboys not to part with star receiver Dez Bryant.
Bryant is a three-time NFL Pro Bowler but the wide receiver faces an uncertain future in Dallas, where he struggled in 2017.
Bryant posted career lows in both catches (69) and yards (838) in a 16-game season. The Cowboys now reportedly want the 29-year-old to take a pay cut, but he has gone on record saying he does not want to take less money.
Cowboys legend and three-time Super Bowl champion Irvin has come to the defence of Bryant.
"You don't find number one receivers hanging off trees like leaves," Irvin said Monday on The Dan Patrick Show. "So what are you gonna do, let Dez go? Who you got to replace him? You think they can just find No. 1 receivers? Every team would have 'em. They'd litter 'em. They would litter 'em. You don't find them this easily. The Cowboys would be stupid -- stupid -- to let this boy go right now."
Irvin simply wants the two parties to make things work, adding: "Back up, back up off 88 right now. And trust me, trust me -- give it time.
"This was a tough year for the Dallas Cowboys. ... It was a tough year. I say let's reload, shoot one more shot next year. Things don't go down, then you start making changes."
Some things went wrong for the Cowboys in 2017 as Bryant and quarterback Dak Prescott looked to struggle to get on the same page at times.
But Dallas' woes could easily be chalked up to a tougher schedule and an interrupted offense as Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for six games.
"Now he has a new quarterback who we have just given the old-man tag to. It's like Dak has been around forever already playing football when it's just his second year," Irvin said. "He just finished his second year. And Dez has to bring Dak along.
"Tony Romo was something different. And Tony and I would talk about this sometimes. Tony knew just how to handle a team's personality. He'd say, 'Mike, sometimes I would go off read to make sure I get the ball to Dez just because I wanted his positive energy.' ... These are things young Dak is going to learn."