After eight years in the NFL, Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant had one of the worst performances in his career on Sunday in a loss against the Seattle Seahawks. With a lost fumble in second quarter, as well a deflected pass off of his hands in the third quarter, Bryant has continuously been questioned by the media, as well as Cowboys fans around the nation.
With his two dropped passes on Sunday, Bryant leads all Cowboys receivers this season with 12 total drops in sixteen games of action. For a receiver that was at one point in time considered “elite”, is Bryant’s tenure close to over in Dallas?
Back in July of 2015, Bryant firmly held his ground during contract negotiations with the Dallas front office, and it paid off. With a five-year, $70 million deal under his belt in result, Bryant had the stage set for him to prove he was worth every cent heading in his direction.
Prior to inking the deal, Bryant averaged 5.9 catches, 85.5 yards, and 0.89 touchdowns per game, which most can argue is within the elite status. Since then, Bryant has been held to 4 catches, 54.7 yards, and 0.47 touchdowns per game.
While the contract for the receiver looks somewhat complicated, it’s really not. In fact, the Cowboys could easily move on from Bryant without taking a large financial hit during the upcoming off-season. The $45 million guaranteed within Bryant’s contract has already been paid off, so Dallas would only be looking at roughly $8 million in dead money.
One of the issues involving the potential release or trade of Bryant involves his hypothetical replacement. Although Terrance Williams and Brice Butler have shown glimpses of reliability in the past, Dallas’ receiving core would likely only plummet even more without Bryant. Perhaps aiming sights at the draft board is an alternative solution for the Cowboys, but betting on a rookie receiver in the early rounds is always a gamble most franchises are not willing to take.
Bryant is an excellent receiver, so let’s not take that away from him. Another reason for Bryant’s lack of success involves Dallas’ weekly strategy, as they’ve been appointed as a run-first offense. The Oklahoma State alumni has yet to record a 100-yard game or multi-touchdown game with Prescott under center, and I’m not quite sure how long the Cowboys are willing to wait for that chemistry to fully develop.
The Cowboys have a number of large contracts to deal with in the future, and tossing more money in the direction of Dez Bryant should not be near the top of the priority list. Some of the names I believe Dallas should instead be concerned about re-signing include David Irving (FA in 2018), DeMarcus Lawrence (2018), Zack Martin (2019), Dak Prescott (2020), and Ezekiel Elliot (2021).
In essence, the Cowboys bought into the hype of Dez Bryant, as if he was going to be on the same level as a Julio Jones, A.J. Green, or DeAndre Hopkins. The numbers will prove otherwise, and it’s about time the Cowboys continue to move forward without Bryant on America’s Team.
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