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A Case for Dez Bryant Remaining a Dallas Cowboy in 2018

Mauricio Rodriguez

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A Case For Dez Bryant Remaining a Dallas Cowboy in 2018 1
AP Photo / Ron Jenkins

Now that most of the coaching positions have been filled in Dallas, all of the attention will soon turn to the players. Who will be re-signed? Who will walk? And will the front office surprise us by releasing a big-name player? Mainly, I'm talking about Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Dez Bryant.

Even before the season came to an end, Dez was already a hot topic among Cowboys fans, and rightfully so. After failing to produce for three consecutive seasons, it's only fair for fans to have a discussion about him.

The question is whether or not the front office will discuss it and do something about it as well. Will Dez be wearing the Star on his helmet next season? Or will he be elsewhere?

I decided to write two cases for Dez Bryant. One in favor, one against. You'll be able to read the latter soon on Inside The Star.

A Case in Favor of Dez Bryant

It's very simple to look at Bryant's drops, lack of production and mistakes and think: "Hey, we should let this guy go, and draft a good wide receiver in April." Easier said than done. Even though Dez isn't currently at his best, he's still a very talented football player.

It won't be very easy to find a replacement for someone like Dez. He may not be an elite receiver anymore, but let's suppose they release him. Who're your receivers?

Will Terrance Williams be Back with Cowboys in 2018?

Dallas Cowboys WRs Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, Dez Bryant

Terrance Williams, a guy who went without a single touchdown in all of last season?

Cole Beasley, who despite being great in 2016, failed to keep it up a year later?

Brice Butler (if re-signed), who flashed as a good receiver but didn't even start a single game?

Now don't get me wrong, these guys worked in 2016, and they might shine again next year if the offense finds a way to bounce back next season. But I don't know for sure that your offense looks a lot better without Dez Bryant.

Logically, if the Cowboys parted ways with #88, they would bring in someone from outside the building. Maybe a proven receiver, but will Dallas have the cap space to do a move like that? Maybe they lean towards the Draft... but aside from one or two guys, are the other wide receivers from this class really that reliable after the first round?

"You don't find No. 1 receivers hanging off trees like leaves." Michael Irvin on Dez Bryant and his future with the Cowboys.

Don't forget that the entire Dallas Cowboys' offense struggled this season.

During the second half of the 2016 season (after dealing with his injury and after Dak Prescott got some experience as a rookie), Bryant looked pretty good. This even led us to believe Dak would develop an amazing chemistry with him once they got back at it in 2017.

Dak Prescott isn't the kind of quarterback who will throw Bryant open or take risks with him. It's fair to point out that Prescott could be better off trusting Dez on contested balls and giving him opportunities to make plays.

We're losing perspective of what happened this past season. Without Ezekiel Elliott, the offense couldn't walk. Without Tyron Smith, Prescott got destroyed frequently. Almost no one from the Cowboys' offense managed to shine last year.

Michael Irvin may be right. The front office may be paying Dez a bit too much, but at the end of the day, if you release the guy, who'll take his place?

After a struggling season, changing the number one WR on the team may not be the wisest thing to do when you have a young QB like Prescott.

There certainly are a lot of reasons to believe the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to keep Bryant, despite the outside noise. Let's hope that if they decide to stick to their guy, they find a way to reduce his cap hit.

Tell me what you think about "A Case for Dez Bryant Remaining a Dallas Cowboy in 2018" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

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12 Comments
  • Travis Diggs

    What’s the point of replacing all the position coaches if your going to get rid of the players. You changed position coaches to see if they can bring out something different in the players you already have while adding some FA and through the draft. Cowboys are in dying need of a true #1 to allow Dez to play #2. Dez has all his best games against the Breshaud Breelands of the worlds(no 2s is what im saying) Restructure Dez and look for a true no 1 like Josh Gordan or Allen Robinson

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      If the front office and Dez are able to work something out and PAY Dez like a #2, I’m all in for it. I bet it won’t happen though, which is the deal breaker for me. I see your point, though. If they decided to overhaul the coaching staff, might as well see what comes out of it. Thanks for reading, Travis!

  • Nick Russo

    Mauricio, I have to disagree in regards to keeping Dez. He may be an all time great WR for the boys (evidenced by his franchise leading 73 touchdown receptions), but he’s not what the cowboys need to win now.
    First, Dez is not a great route runner. He had success because of Romo’s ability to throw him open, and his athleticism to snatch the ball out of the air. Dak may get to that point further into his career, but for now he does better getting the ball to an open receiver.
    Furthermore, his attitude on the sideline during games is just too much. We put up with it when he was producing but it’s enough already. It can be argued his outbursts led to our demise in the Seattle game and as a fan I’m tired of seeing him cry so much. All in all he is being paid way too much money to cry and complain, and to not get open and drop the balls that he should catch.
    As I said he’s an all time great cowboy and between 2012-2014 I would always argue with friends that he was the best receiver in the league. Unfortunately those days are gone and we have to move forward.

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      I actually agree with you. This article is the first part of a two-post series I’m working on. This Sunday you’ll be able to read my article against him staying in Dallas another year. To me, it’s all about cap space. I think he’s talented, but I don’t think he’s justifying his salary on the field. Thanks for reading!

    • RJ

      Are you kidding me. Dez is a number one receiver on any NFL team. We just do not use him right. Running him down field INTO THE DOUBLE TEAM, WHO DOES THAT. The correct way to use him is run him underneath short five and ins, let him catch the ball and break tackles that is what he does. AND ROMO NEVER THREW DEZ OPEN, ROMO THREW THE BALL UP HIGH AND DEZ WENT AND GOT IT…All this crazy talk about trading Dez or letting him go is just that; crazy. Dez has always been and above the rim guy it’s what he does. Yes Romo threw some gems, but Dez went and got those gems, however, it has never been a case of anyone throwing Dez open…

      • Nick Russo

        I have to respectfully disagree. As I mentioned in my initial comment, Dez was in my opinion, the top WR in football between 2012-2014. It might be the injuries, it might be other factors but dez hasn’t been close to that level in the past 3 seasons. Regarding his route running, I don’t think dez is a very good route runner. A majority of his touchdowns have been balls that he’s gone up to get because of his althleticism. The amount of times that he has run a slant route and then dropped it and had it result in an interception is not indicative of a WR1. I’m sorry but Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and the other top receivers around the league figure out ways to get open and make plays even against double teams. Dez isn’t making those plays anymore. The biggest issue is the salary though. It’s not that he’s washed up and can’t play, it’s that for our cap situation, we can’t afford to pay $16 million to a WR on the decline.

        • RJ

          Addressing the money first. Dez is 29 and still the number one receiver in football. His numbers do say it, but if you watch the whole game you know what I am saying. Dez caught 50 balls in 2016, he upped it to 69 in 2017. That is not a decline to me.

          Why do I say he is number 1, you could say Jones and Brown are ahead of Bryant, in stats, but Brown and Jones have VETERAN AND who EACH guy has played multiple seasons with. Plus Brown called Big Ben out multiple times to include last season. Honestly Dez should be used more like Jones, short in routes and allow him to break tackles. Instead Beasley ran the short in routes in 2016 and he had 75 receptions. Dez your number one was left being a FREAKIN DECOY. He did it and for doing as he was asked to do for the steaMER USE THAT AS A REASON TO CUT JOM. Show some freaking LOYALTY WILL YOU.

          Give Dallas the last two season’s back with the veteran Romo and Dez has two thousand yard 100+ catch seasons. A receivers performance is on the qb as much as it is on the receiver.

  • Jason Wagner

    Watching all of the games this year and every year at least once it’s my opinion Dez’s drop off is more because of Dak’s inaccuracy than anything else. Dez needs to get the ball in his hands early and often to be most effective and he’s a force when that happens. When he doesn’t get a chance to produce and help team win he gets over anxious and looses focus…thus the drops on tough catches he normally makes. ALL of the receivers numbers were terrible this season. Prescott needs to throw Dez open and work on ball placement because Dez has never been a burner who creates lots of space. I believe Dez is still in the top 10 receivers but needs a QB more accurate than Dak was last year. Getting Dez the ball early on some quick slants or reverses would heat him up and keep him focused for the tougher 50/50 balls. Lets hope Dak can improve or Dez will have to take a cut or find a better QB to prove his point. Hate to lose a leader like this!

  • Russ_Te

    Cap hit being the main issue probably, not age or injury. Dez has to move to a power-possession role at this stage of his career, and work underneath WR’s who stretch secondaries and get the coverage rotations off of him. Then Linehan has to cash that in & get Dez involved.

    If all that gets done, I think he has some career left in Dallas. Whether Dez will give back $ to stay on the team, unknown. He won’t match his current deal elsewhere if cut – so he might do it. I’m good with it if all these boxes are checked.

    The unit needs a serious infusion of new speed, and that is square 1 IMO. I’m not interested in 4.5, 4.4 WR’s. We need to bring in a 4.3 / 4.2 WR who will force the FS to stay deep. Then I’m holding onto Butler to add to that, and going to Switzer in the slot on the idea of turning some of those routes downfield also.

    I don’t want Dak throwing the ball to covered receivers. I want him to readily see someone open when he sets up. Give him that and 4 seconds, he’ll return to the QB he was in 2016. And with more experience of course.

  • EverybodyTalks

    When you start looking at the money, it becomes evident that Dez needs to take a pay cut. For that matter Beasley may need to do the same along with Williams.
    The whole receiving corp makes up a substantial part of salary cap, 28million, which is only 2nd behind the O line at 47million, which doesn’t include the upcoming Zack contract. You look down the road, there is nearly 9 million to absorb from Romo this year and 2019 is the last year for the Dak rookie contract.
    I could see Dez going. 8 million towards the cap, 3 million for Hanna. 3 million for Mayowa. That almost matches what we have available on the cap. Lawrence will probably eat up most of that. Irving and Hitchens can now be contracted and possibly Zack long term, if the pay is back-ended. That makes for a more stable D line and O line. So both lines kept for letting go of Dez. Hard to turn down, especially if he won’t budge on a pay cut.

  • RJ

    Ball not even close to Dez and the Skins Defender is all inside his jersey…No FLAG. This is the difference in the way defenders can D-up Dez, but our Defenders have to give the opposing team’s receivers THREE FEET…Just isn’t the same, at least not for the Cowboys…People see that…

  • John Williams

    Good analysis of keeping him. I am of the mind that you keep him. You can work out cap space if necessary through cuts, restructures, etc, but you can’t find a WR that helps you replace Dez in 2018 on the FA market for less than $12 million a year.

    Dez won’t likely take a pay cut, which is his right. He and the Cowboys signed a contract and though he has been an elite WR at times in his career, 2015, the first half of 2016 and 2017 have all been let downs. The problem is, Allen Robinson isn’t coming here and he only has a year of production on his name.

    Sammy Watkins isn’t better than Dez, but you are going to have to pay him like he’s as good.

    Then there’s the $8 million in dead money that goes on the cap if you cut Dez. Even a post-June 1st cut only gets you $8 mil in savings with 8.5 in dead money.

    So then the question becomes. Would you rather have a cap hit of 16.5 million and have Dez on your team or 8 million for him to play elsewhere.

    I’d rather have Dez.

Star Blog

Could a Former Division Rival be Cowboys’ LG Solution?

Brian Martin

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Could Former Division Rival be Cowboys' OG Solution?

When it comes to prioritizing the Dallas Cowboys offseason needs, offensive guard is definitely near the top of the list. Opinions will certainly vary, but for me, solidifying the offensive line with a new starting left guard is the top priority for the Cowboys.

I know many of you will disagree and believe the Dallas Cowboys need to continue to upgrade their defense. But, this teams success or failure will be determined by how their offensive line performs. That's just the way the Cowboys are built, which is why they have invested so heavily putting this unit together.

Four out of five of the Dallas Cowboys starting offensive line is set in stone, but there is currently no one on the roster to step into the vacant left guard position unless you want to see the coaching staff give Chaz Green another try.

No, I didn't think so.

With the start of the 2018 free agency just a few weeks away, the Dallas Cowboys have certainly narrowed down some of the potential free agents they would be interested in bringing aboard if the price is right. Remember, they have turned into "bargain shoppers".

There are a few intriguing free agent options who I believe could step in to upgrade the LG position for the Cowboys next season, and not break the bank. One such option is a former division rival of the New York Giants, Justin Pugh.

Justin Pugh

New York Giants OL Justin Pugh

The former 19th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft has spent five years in New York while playing out his rookie contract, but that time has come to an end. The Giants aren't likely to re-sign him, which means he will get his first taste of free agency.

Justin Pugh could step in and be an immediate upgrade over what the Dallas Cowboys employed at the left guard position in 2017. He has exceptional mobility. He reaches the second level with ease and plays with good body control and footwork. He is a perfect fit in a zone blocking scheme like the Cowboys employ.

Pugh is also versatile. He has played both right tackle and offensive guard for the Giants. He of course would be asked to play between Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith at LG with the Cowboys, but versatility to play another position is never a bad thing.

Unfortunately, Pugh doesn't come without baggage. He has missed a total of 13 games over the last two seasons with the Giants, including eight last season due to a back injury. This is definitely a huge red flag, especially for the Cowboys after dealing with the same issue with Tyron Smith.

But, this is why Justin Pugh will likely be in the Cowboys price range. Sportrac currently estimates his contract at 4 years at $23,983,847, which equates to $5,995,968 annually. I personally think that's a little low for someone of Pugh's caliber and versatility, but it certainly understandable when you take into account his recent injury history.

I personally think this is a longshot to happen because  the Cowboys would prefer to go younger and cheaper, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Do you think Justin Pugh makes sense for the Cowboys?


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Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Sadly, we can't wake up on Sundays to NFL football. The Dallas Cowboys are not on TV every week for us to watch them play. To make matters worse, we'll have to wait until September to get real football from our favorite team.

But that doesn't mean there's nothing to talk about until then! For the die-hard Cowboys fan, the offseason should be quite entertaining. Free agency will begin in March, and it should be an intense one for Dallas.

They need to handle a tight salary cap while trying to add a bit of help for this football team. Recently, Inside The Star Contributor John Williams wrote an in-depth piece about the Cowboys' cap situation and how they can manage to get things done, despite having little cap space right now.

Last season, I wrote a weekly Cowboys Wishlist about things I wanted to see for each game. Now there are no games, but I decided to write a special edition for this upcoming free agency.

Cowboys en Español: El Futuro de David Irving y DeMarcus Lawrence

Dallas Cowboys DL David Irving, DeMarcus Lawrence (Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports)

Wish #1: Keep The Rushmen

The front office will have one hell of a challenge trying to retain all of its free agents. The two most important ones may be their two defensive linemen. If they can keep them, DL won't be a top need heading to the Draft.

Lawrence is one of the biggest names in free agency this 2018, but the Cowboys should find a way to keep him from ever being available.

If they're able to franchise tag him, that'd be the way to go since he's only had one elite season in his four-year career and they may not want to sign him to a huge long-term deal and risk not seeing the same guy next season.

David Irving is a more polarizing player, with off-the-field issues. However, he's been a very disruptive guy and he has the chance to be a unique player. His talent is really out of this world. Keeping him and Irving would give this franchise a top defensive line for the first time in many years.

Anthony Hitchens 1

Dallas Cowboys LB Anthony Hitchens (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Wish #2: Pay Anthony Hitchens

When healthy, Sean Lee is one of the NFL's top linebackers. He is simply an outstanding player who's always around the ball and seems to know where the ball is going before the opposing coach even calls the play.

The problem is, he has a lot of trouble remaining available. Anthony Hitchens is a guy who's found the way to step up every time the General is out, and he's shown a great progression as a player year after year.

Lee will be 32 by the time the season starts, giving Dallas something to think about. Hitchens is a guy capable of starting and competing in the NFL. If the front office finds a way to keep him, they'll be getting closer to being less "Sean Lee-dependent."

Wish #3: Get Seattle Seahawks' Earl Thomas

When we talk about a potential big name addition to the Dallas Cowboys, we're usually a bit pessimistic. This team isn't one that makes splashes like this, but Earl Thomas to Dallas makes a ton of sense. Former Seahawks' defensive coordinator is now the Cowboys' defensive backs' coach.

With Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis (and maybe Byron Jones moving to CB), this team will have a promising secondary. Add Earl Thomas, and it will go from "promising" to "great" in a heartbeat.

The Cowboys could not only have a top DL, but a top secondary if they're able to get this veteran.

Let's hope the Cowboys listen to Thomas and they go get him.

A Case For Dez Bryant Remaining a Dallas Cowboy in 2018

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Wish #4: Get Dez Bryant to Take a Pay Cut

When I started writing this, I wanted to add a "get this wide receiver in FA"... but I won't. A few weeks ago, I wrote a case in favor and one against Dez Bryant remaining a Cowboy in 2018. Personally, I would be fine with him parting ways with the team.

However, I'm aware of how hard it can be finding a replacement for a guy like #88. The biggest issue with Dez is definitely his cap hit. He hasn't justified the money he's being paid on the field as he should be.

If they can get him to take a pay cut, it may end up being the ideal scenario for the Dallas Cowboys.

It'll be a very interesting offseason, and here at Inside The Star we'll continue to provide you with content about it all.

Tell me what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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Star Blog

Switzer and Beasley: A Dilemma for Cowboys’ 2018 Offseason

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Switzer and Beasley: A Dilemma for Cowboys' 2018 Offseason

When the Dallas Cowboys drafted Ryan Switzer in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Cowboys Nation rejoiced. By some, including myself, the product out of North Carolina was considered a steal by America's Team. Taking a guy who could contribute from day one for special teams and for the offense was something to be happy about.

At the time, WR didn't look like much of a need. Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley were staying in Dallas and Terrance Williams had just been re-signed (little did we know he'd fail to score a single touchdown in 2017) pushing the receiver position down the team needs list.

But the front office had landed a very productive slot receiver from North Carolina. On top of that, they found a guy to replace Lucky Whitehead as a return specialist. However, offseason hype took over a large amount of Cowboys' fans, writers and analysts and the expectations for Switzer were very big.

Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer

Naturally, he was compared to Cole Beasley since people started talking about him as an NFL prospect. His height, skills and playing style were similar and with the Cowboy veteran coming off from a big year in 2016, people were excited for what Switzer could do as a professional football player.

But it wasn't just about the rookie returning punts and kickoffs, it was about him contributing to an offense that already had a great slot receiver. Cowboys Nation was excited to see Switzer and Beasley on the field at the same time.

That never happened.

Switzer barely saw playing time in 2017 and when he was on the field as a WR, he was limited to running or faking jet sweeps. The coaching staff misused him and we didn't get to see him get a lot of snaps until the final week of the season, when #11 was injured.

And it was that same week when we saw what he was capable of. Switz showed how talented he is and how he can beat NFL defensive backs when he was asked to do so.

Cowboys Offense: More Hot Sauce Needed From Cole Beasley 3

Dallas Cowboys WR Cole Beasley (Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY)

With a busy offseason and a tight salary cap, the Dallas Cowboys' front office will be considering a lot of possibilities. One of them will be the future of Cole Beasley. Releasing him would free up more than $3M in cap space.

I know a large amount of Cowboys' fans prefer to see Dez Bryant gone over him, but we can't deny that there's already a clear replacement for Beasley in Switzer.

The Cowboys wanted Switzer to be a returner and a receiver for them, but if they're going to use him just as a gadget player on offense... was the fourth-round pick worth it? If you're not going to use one of them, why have two players who are very similar on your roster?

Cowboys Nation loves Cole Beasley, as they should. I for one wouldn't want to see #11 on another team. Even still, it's only fair to admit that it would make sense for Dallas if they were to say goodbye to one of their most beloved players.

Tell me what you think about "Switzer and Beasley: A Dilemma for Cowboys’ 2018 Offseason" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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