Crayton was dealt to the San Diego Chargers, where he'll be a bigger part of the offense than he would've been in Dallas and he will still be playing for a contender. The change in locales isn't bad either, although he's leaving the area where he grew up.
Dallas received only future considerations, likely a late-round draft pick. The club figured it was better than cutting him and getting nothing, plus it puts him in the other conference.
The Cowboys kept Crayton all summer mainly because there was no incentive to give in to his trade request. But as club officials discussed their 53-man roster, they apparently felt they couldn't justify keeping someone with his high salary ($2 million) in a reduced role (fourth receiver, backup punt returner).
"You have to take everything into consideration — economics, how he fits with the team, the overall body of work — and you make a decision based on that," Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said. "We really waited to evaluate all our receivers. ... We feel very comfortable with our depth."
They also feel comfortable with Bryant's health. The former Oklahoma State star missed the entire preseason with a high ankle sprain, but is ready for the opener at Washington a week from Sunday. Bryant is expected to take over the roles Crayton had last season — No. 3 receiver and punt returner.
Crayton skipped offseason workouts because he was upset about Bryant's arrival. Once he showed up, there were never any problems. He just couldn't get ahead of Miles Austin, Roy Williams and Bryant on the depth chart, and the Cowboys felt Kevin Ogletree was ready to take on a larger role in his second season.
"I think he's proven he deserves an opportunity," Jones said.
Dallas also has Sam Hurd, a fifth-year receiver and special teams standout. His roster spot could be in jeopardy, too, because he has a $1.8 million contract.
Crayton was among the team's most sure-handed receivers, catching 196 passes for 2,888 yards and 23 touchdowns in 82 games, including 33 starts. However, fans will never forget that he dropped a likely touchdown pass late in a humiliating playoff loss to the New York Giants in 2007.
Also Friday, Dallas traded offensive lineman Pat McQuistan to the Miami Dolphins for future considerations.
McQuistan was drafted by the Cowboys when Miami executives Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland were here and Dolphins coach Tony Sparano was his position coach for two seasons. He played 40 games, but never started.
Long left the game but walked afterward without a limp and said he was fine.