"You don't find No. 1 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."
Since Bryant signed a five-year, $70 million deal in 2015, he has not had a 1,000-yard season or more than eight touchdown catches in a year. He had 69 receptions for 838 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2017, career-low numbers for seasons when Bryant played 16 games.
Bryant, 29, is signed through 2019 and is slated to make $12.5 million in each of the next two seasons, with a $16.5 million salary-cap figure in 2018. If the Cowboys cut Bryant, they would save $8.5 million against the cap. They could save $12.5 million if he is designated a post-June 1 cut, but he would count $4 million against the 2019 cap.
Bryant has been bothered by knee, foot and ankle injuries since signing the contract. The Cowboys had ineffective quarterback play in 2015 and have transitioned from Tony Romo to Dak Prescott the past two seasons with a run-heavy offense.
"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."
Irvin's support of Bryant, however, won't be long-lived.
"Back up, back up off 88 right now. And trust me, trust me -- give it time," Irvin said. "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."