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?
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.