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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 @MauNFL 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

Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Can we Believe General Manager Jerry Jones?

Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.

Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.

Cambios de Coach

A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.

A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.

Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?

El Draft

A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.

A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.

En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.

Decisiones difíciles

La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.

Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.

Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.

No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.

Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.

Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.

Here's why those people are wrong.

Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.

Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).

Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.

There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.

Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.

Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.

Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.

Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.

And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.



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Star Blog

Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?

Brian Martin

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Can Dak Prescott Regain His Mojo Against Atlanta?
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.

It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.

Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.

Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.

Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.

Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:

24 starts
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating

Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:

17 starts
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating

As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.

Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

Now, he just has to go out and prove it!

Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?



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