With Dez Bryant being one of the most discussed topics among Cowboys fans right now, I decided to write a two-part series regarding his future as a Dallas Cowboy. Last Saturday, I wrote a case in favor of Dez remaining on the team for 2018, but is that the best option for the team?
Since signing a $70M contract after 2014, Bryant hasn’t been the guy he was supposed to be.
Over the last three years, it’s really, really tough to consider him among the top wide receivers in the NFL. Even though some fans are reluctant to admit it, the truth is Bryant no longer belongs in the same tier as Julio Jones, Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr.
He isn’t elite.
He’s still very talented, sure. He’s actually a good football player.
However, with Dez the question becomes: Is he $16.5M good? That’s the amount of money he’ll get paid if he doesn’t take a pay cut before next season.
It’s not about him being good enough to be a starter in the NFL, because he is. But a player who gets paid like that must justify the cap space he occupies. Bryant doesn’t do that.
The “He was better when Tony Romo was the quarterback” is indeed, true. That doesn’t mean that Dak Prescott is the problem, though. His play style is just different from Romo’s. Looking at players like Larry Fitzgerald and DeAndre Hopkins play great with mediocre quarterbacks is more than enough to debunk that argument.
Dak Prescott may get to a point in his career in which he plays more aggressive. Someday, he may be willing to throw contested balls he wouldn’t before. For now though, Dez might not be the guy who’ll become Dak’s best friend.
If Bryant is willing to take a pay cut, it’d be a different story.
Maybe he was asked at a time when emotions were running high, but his response when asked if he would take a pay cut was plain and simple: “Hell no.”
We often complain about the way the front office handles free agency in a quiet way, but that has a lot to do with how much cap space they can work with. Is it time for them to adopt a tougher approach? One in which, if a player simply isn’t justifying his salary on the field, he’s gone?
The task of retaining DeMarcus Lawrence, Anthony Hitchens and David Irving is not an easy one at all. $18M in cap space won’t cut it. The Dallas Cowboys will have to make moves in order to keep guys who contributed a lot to this football team, and who could be the foundation of a very good defense in the coming years.
They can restructure a ton of players, or part ways with some guys, who’ll free up around two or three million. Releasing Dez Bryant would save the Cowboys $8.5M in 2018. At a point, Stephen Jones & Co. must look at parting ways with one of the most iconic players in franchise history as a real possibility.
As a young Dallas Cowboys fan, Dez has been one of my favorite players to watch. Ultimately though, it comes down to the fact that he’s getting paid more than what he’s worth.