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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

Will DeMarcus Lawrence Be Franchise Tagged Again in 2019?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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DeMarcus Lawrence, Franchise Tags and Realities for Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY Sports

The deadline for extending players under the franchise tag has come and gone last Monday, in a day in which none of the remaining tagged players reached an agreement with their respective teams. That includes Dallas Cowboy Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence, who's set to earn $17M in 2018.

The front office and the 26-year old defensive end failed to agree to a new contract before the season's start, but we saw that coming. After all, there was never a point in which we had the classic "X player and his team are close to a new deal" headline.

All of this makes the future of the Cowboys' promising "War Daddy" very uncertain. What lies a head of the player that put on an impressive show in 2018?

Since 2017 was Lawrence's breakout year, racking up 14.5 sacks trough the season, we have leaned towards the narrative of last season being his only good one. His performance last season was impressive and clearly his best one yet, but we tend to overlook 2015.

In his sophomore season, the only other year in which he has played 16 games, he finished the campaign with eight sacks and 35 tackles (55 combined). Really, the idea of 2017 being his only good year is not as accurate as we might think.

That being said, I think it's more likely that we see another great year from him this upcoming season than seeing a disappointing one. This, of course, will end up being the main thing that determines his future in Dallas.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 1

Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence

The Dallas Cowboys front office really took a risk by tagging Lawrence this offseason. #90 was reportedly asking for an average of $17M per year in his long-term contract, which is Olivier Vernon kind of money.

So what if he puts a similar season or an even better one? Lawrence and his agent could end up asking for even more money. Perhaps in the 18 or 20 million dollars per year range. If that ends up being the case, the team will find itself in a tough position when trying to reach an agreement with its promising pass rusher.

Which leads us to the possibility of seeing the Cowboys franchise tagging Lawrence for the second consecutive season. Dallas will already be negotiating a contract extension with QB Dak Prescott, and things will get complicated. Even more if they decide to pursue a big-time free agent in March, such as Earl Thomas.

It would make sense, from a financial perspective, to hand the tag twice in consecutive years to D-Law. However, it shouldn't be the priority. If he plays like he did in 2017, the front office will be more than wise to extend him for good.

According to OverTheCap.com, the Cowboys will have approximately $50.6M. Seemingly, the team's cap woes will be over soon.

Fortunately, Lawrence didn't become a headache by threatening to holdout for offseason programs and even training camp. However, don't expect that to happen if he finds himself under the tag next year.

Careers in the NFL are short, so DeMarcus will surely want to get paid. If he keeps it up, he'll deserve it. As much as he deserves it, though, football is a cold business. If the Jones need to tag him, they will.

Do you think the Cowboys will franchise tag Lawrence in 2019?

Tell me what you think about "Will DeMarcus Lawrence Be Franchise Tagged Again in 2019?" 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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Without Looming Suspension, RB Ezekiel Elliott Should Shine In 2018

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys en Español: 3

NFL Films typically does a good job of exposing some truths around NFL teams. Whether through "Hard Knocks" or Amazon's new "All or Nothing" series, these documentaries do an excellent job of giving fans an inside look of their favorite teams.

If anything was revealed through the Cowboys' All or Nothing series on their 2017 season, it's that Ezekiel Elliott's suspension weighed heavy on his mind all year.

The Pro Bowl running back did not look, act, or play like himself while awaiting decision on his incoming suspension. And, once it was finally announced he would serve the six games, the entire team collapsed in Atlanta.

Despite the clear and detrimental effects Elliott's suspension had on the Cowboys' season, Zeke still put up more-than-respectable numbers; rushing for almost 1,000 yards and averaging a league leading 98.3 yards per game.

Now, Ezekiel Elliott enters a season with no doubts about his own availability. Scott Linehan gets to coach an offense that knows they will have their best player for the entire season barring major injury. And, Jason Garrett can lead his team without addressing questions about Elliott's future day in and day out.What Workload is Ezekiel Elliott Prepared for in 2018? 1

Of course, these effects aren't quantifiable. We can't sit here and say that without the pressure of court appearances and suspensions that Elliott will be worth "X" amount of more yards and "Y" more touchdowns.

But I do believe we can say, without question, that playing with a clear mind and without a looming suspension will breed the type of production we saw from Zeke his rookie year.

We can say that Elliott has had a weight lifted off his shoulders, and could be looking for revenge on a league he feels did him wrong.

And, for the Cowboys sake, I hope this is true. Because they are going to need Ezekiel Elliott to be even better than he ever has been if they hope to make a run at the Super Bowl in 2018.



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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: El Regreso de Randy Gregory

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Randy Gregory, Eagles
Eric Hartline / USA TODAY Sports

A sólo días de que los Dallas Cowboys aterricen en Oxnard, California para dar inicio a su training camp como todos los años, el equipo recibió excelentes noticias respecto a la selección de segunda ronda del 2015: Randy Gregory. Después de pasar todo el 2017 suspendido, el ala defensiva ha sido oficialmente reintegrado por la NFL.

Gregory, quien tuvo muchos problemas debido al uso de marihuana, ha pasado los últimos meses rehabilitándose para poder volver a vestir la estrella y volver al emparrillado. Los Cowboys, quienes siempre apoyaron a su joven jugador, sin duda estarán felices de verlo de vuelta en el equipo por motivos más allá que el football americano.

Sin duda alguna, antes de estar emocionados y felices por verlo en el campo intimidando a quarterbacks rivales, deberíamos estar alegres por el logro personal de Randy como un ser humano. Realmente hizo un esfuerzo consciente en un lugar en el que muchos se hubieran rendido y dejado sus sueños de ser parte de la NFL. Pero no lo hizo, y ahora, todos sus esfuerzos han valido la pena.

El siguiente paso en su lista por-hacer, es volver al campo y poco a poco, ganarse su puesto en el equipo y después, la titularidad. La última vez que vimos a Gregory en el campo, fue contra Philadelphia, en el final de temporada del 2016.

En este juego, Gregory mostró muchos destellos de lo que sería capaz de hacer semana tras semana en la liga y porque valió la pena nunca dejarlo ir, lo cual no hubiera tenido sentido hacer, dado que los Cowboys no les costaba nada (literalmente) mantenerlo en el equipo.

Sean Martin escribió un artículo recientemente en el que analiza este partido a fondo.

El potencial de Gregory es inmenso, suficiente incluso, para aventurarse a decir que se convertirá en el defensive end (ala defensiva) derecho antes de lo esperado. El reto más grande para el jugador de 25 años será regresar a una condición física óptima para la NFL.

Afortunadamente, a diferencia del 2016, Gregory no estará regresando a media temporada. Su llegada toma lugar justo a tiempo para el training camp, dándole tiempo para regresar a la forma en la que tiene que estar.

Una vez ahí, ¿qué tanto le tomará ganarse un rol más importante que el de Tyrone Crawford y Taco Charlton? A pesar de que prácticamente no lo hemos visto jugar en Dallas, sabemos el potencial que tiene para convertirse en un defensivo de suma importancia para los Cowboys.

Un año después de ver la mejor temporada en la carrera de DeMarcus Lawrence, los Cowboys tendrán el potencial de una estrella similar en el lado derecho de su línea defensiva. Gregory tiene una montaña que escalar para cumplir las expectativas de los aficionados, pero no será una sorpresa si lo logra.

Vaya, no olvidemos que si no fuera por sus problemas fuera del campo, hubiera sido seleccionado en el Top 10 del Draft del 2015. Tiene el potencial de conseguir diez sacks por temporada.

Con un poco de suerte, no nos equivocaremos en tenerle fe al jugador que ha tenido un gran viaje para llegar a este punto. El punto de ponerse el casco e ir a trabajar con su equipo.

Incluso si sólo llega a ser un jugador de rotación, sin duda será importante para el éxito del equipo. Entre DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving, Randy Gregory y el resto del talento que los Cowboys tienen en la línea defensiva, el equipo podría tener un frente de muy buena calidad.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: El Regreso de Randy Gregory" 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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