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Should the Cowboys Break the Bank for Dez Bryant?

Brian Leatherman

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Cowboys Blog - Should the Cowboys Break the Bank for Dez Bryant?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Dez Bryant contract situation as of late. Actually, I wrote a piece over the summer on Dez and his contract.

Some of the reasons I was for it has come up this season, and some of the reasons I would be against breaking the bank for him have been coming up as well.

I’ve went back and forth on this situation, and I’ve finally come to a decision on what I would do if I was handling the Dez Bryant contract situation - I would let him walk, IF he isn’t willing to work with the team.

Not a popular opinion I’m sure, and many people may have stopped reading after that, but it’s my decision and I’m sticking to it.

But please, hear me out as to why I wouldn’t break the bank to keep Dez Bryant. But before I do, I do want to say I don’t like how Dez keeps talking about the contract in the media. Yes, I know he keeps getting asked about it but he’s becoming a little cockier with his answers, in my opinion.

While he was with Eugene Parker - his former agent - Dez wouldn’t say a whole lot about the contract situation besides, “It will all work itself out” or something of that nature.

But since he hooked up with Jay Z and his crew, he’s been a little more vocal about the contract situation. And he said something the other day, which kind of rubbed me the wrong way. While doing an interview about his contract he was quoted as saying, “I’m a loyal guy, but don’t test my loyalty.”

Hmmm, not sure how to take that.

That seems like a back-handed threat to me. Also, I’m kind of confused on his comments, “it isn’t about the money, it’s about respect.”

So I guess if the Jones' don’t offer him $50 million guaranteed on a 10 year contract for over $120 million then they don’t respect you? Yeah, don’t hand me that crap!

You don’t feel respected unless you get all that cash. Just say it’s about the money and stop with the B.S..

It’s always about the money; I don’t care what any player says, from any sport.

It's Always About The Money.

But, in saying that, Dez saying all that isn’t the reason I would let Dez walk if he doesn’t work with team on a contract that’s good for both sides.

First and foremost, I wouldn’t put all my eggs in one basket.

This team has made so many mistakes going down that road before. Jerry & Stephen have offered big contracts to the wrong positions throughout the years; the latest being Brandon Carr. No disrespect intended for B.C. but he will never live up to the contract he signed to come here and honestly? He hasn’t played anywhere close to the contract he signed.

I’m not saying Dez wouldn’t live up to some huge top 5 WR contract, because Dez is a top 5 wide receiver in today's game, but my biggest concern is what about the other needs on this team?

Think about this for a second: Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens, and Kyle Wilber are the only linebackers under contract who would get big playing time for the Cowboys next season. Bruce Carter, Justin Durant (Who - by the way - Rod Marinelli called the league’s best kept secret) and Rolando McClain will all be free agents.

I love Sean Lee, but we know he always seems to have something go wrong. Anthony Hitchens could be a star in the making, and Kyle Wilber is a solid player. But that’s not the three I want to see as the linebacker crew for this team.

Henry Melton has returned to pro bowl form. I shouldn’t have to tell you how important a pass rush is to a defense but I will say this; I think the push up the middle into a QBs face is the biggest factor to a pass rush.

He shouldn’t get the $9 million he is supposed to get if kept, however I feel like he should get something close to that number.

Also let’s not forget about a certain player that goes by the name of DeMarco Murray.

Dez Bryant wants to get paid and Murray wants to get paid. Can you pay both players what they want? I don’t think it can happen. Both guys are going to want top money for their positions.

Oh, we also have Dwayne Harris closing in on his last days of his rookie contract. Harris is one of those guys that does all the dirty work. He’s by far the best run blocker out of all the WRs and he’s an underrated punt returner and wide receiver.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing more I would like to see than Dez Bryant to remain a Dallas Cowboy for the rest of his career. But if it’s going to put this team in the type of financial situation known all to well in Dallas in recent years, then I’ll have to pass.

I listed quite a few names where that big money could be spread out to, and I would much rather have to replace one great player, instead of struggling to replace 4 or 5 really good players.



Brian has been a football junkie from the time he was 5 years old. He lives, eats and breathes the game. Brian is a college graduate living in the south who loves his faith, his family, and his Dallas Cowboys.

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Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Next Day Rant: Cowboys Drafting LB Vander Esch Looks Pretty Smart Now

Dallas Cowboys' rookie Leighton Vander Esch has done enough to prove every single doubter wrong. When Roger Goodell called his name during the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas, many in Cowboys Nation rejoiced at the thought of having a young linebacker for a defense surrounded with uncertainty. However, many analysts doubted the draft pick. For a lot of people (sadly, I include myself in this category), the pick should've been used on another player. For most, despite acknowledging his raw talent, Vander Esch wouldn't be able to provide the Cowboys with an instant impact player. Ah, well.

After a remarkable season, Vander Esch (a.k.a. Wolf Hunter) has earned a spot on this season's second-team All-Pro. When the Pro Bowl voting began, Vander Esch was snubbed from the ballot itself. It didn't took the NFL long to realize their mistake and add the Cowboys' linebacker to the list. Despite missing the cut at first, Vander Esch will be heading to Orlando to play in this year's Pro Bowl on January 27th.

https://twitter.com/dallascowboys/status/1085291591399546880?s=21

The former Boise State Bronco will be replacing Carolina Panthers' LB Luke Kuechly, who won't be participating because of an injury.

Vander Esch racked up 140 tackles (per Pro Football Reference), ranking third in the league in this category. He finished the season as the fifth best linebacker in Pro Football Focus' rankings.

But numbers aren't really enough to fully appreciate what Vander Esch did for the Dallas Cowboys. A team that was used to seeing its defense break when veteran Sean Lee went down injured, did not only get someone to fill in for Lee. Vander Esch actually upgraded the Cowboys' defense. It didn't matter where the ball went, he was always around when opponents were tackled. His speed and chance of direction allowed him to run sideline to sideline, covering a huge portion of the field.

Along Jaylon Smith, Dallas managed to have one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL.

The last time a defensive rookie from the Cowboys went to the Pro Bowl was in 1981, when Everson Walls made the team. Vander Esch is the 11th rookie in team history to be selected to the Pro Bowl. This year, the rookie will be accompanied by DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Ezekiel Elliott.

Tell me what you think about "Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip" 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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Cowboys Expect C Travis Frederick Back for Offseason Program

Jess Haynie

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Travis Frederick

Lost in yesterday's hoopla over Scott Linehan's return was a positive report about Center Travis Frederick. In his comments to the media, Jason Garrett said that Frederick's recovery timetable should allow him to a full participant in the team's offseason program.

After never missing a start in his first five years, Travis missed all of 2018 dealing with the effects of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The disease attacked his neurological system and required immediate and intensive treatment.

Rob Phillips on Twitter

Jason Garrett says the team anticipates Travis Frederick being involved in the offseason program right from the start this spring if he continues on the same positive track in recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome. #cowboyswire

While Joe Looney performed admirably in Frederick's absence, he's not an elite talent. Travis has been arguably the best center in the NFL since entering the league in 2013.

It's hard to qualify what effect not having Frederick had on the Cowboys offense in 2018. Ezekiel Elliott still led the league in rushing, but short-yardage plays weren't as automatic as we've seen in past years. A 4th-and-1 stuff was part of what led to the Cowboys' loss this past Saturday.

Dak Prescott was the second-most sacked QB in the NFL in 2018. After being sacked just 25 and 32 times in his first two seasons, the number skyrocketed to 56 sacks.

That's not all on Frederick, of course. Tyron Smith had some health issues and there were was turnover at left guard.

But having your All-Pro veteran center out there to help with the pre-snap reads, and help the rookie guard on his left, might have helped avoid some of those issues.

Indeed, Travis Frederick's return is just one of many reasons for optimism with the 2019 season. One of the best players on the team, he was sorely missed this year and can only help as Dallas looks to build on their division title and playoff appearance.



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For Cowboys to Beat the Rams, Dak Prescott must Lead the Way

John Williams

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Playoff Scenarios Aim Towards Seahawks vs Cowboys in Wild Card

In the NFL wins and losses often come down to quarterback play. That isn't to say that if a team wins, it was all because of the quarterback and inversely, if a team loses that it was all on the quarterback. Teams win or lose games. Generally speaking, however, the quarterback has the highest amount of influence on the outcome of an NFL game. This will be no different for the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday when they take on the Los Angeles Rams in the LA Coliseum. For America's Team to make their first trip to the NFC Championship Game since 1996, Dak Prescott has to have a good game.

This looks to be a good matchup for the Dallas Cowboys offense, which should allow Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to take advantage in certain areas.

A few Rams Passing Game Notes

  • The Los Angeles Rams were middle of the pack against the pass this season, allowing the 14th fewest passing yards in the league this season.
  • The Rams allowed 7.7 yards per attempt. Dak Prescott is averaging 7.6 yards per attempt since week 10 of the season.
  • The Rams allowed the eighth most passing touchdowns in the NFL this season. They and the New Orleans Saints are the only teams in the top 10 of passing touchdowns allowed in the playoffs this season.
  • The Rams were 15th in the NFL in sacks, with 41, but Aaron Donald accounted for half of that with 20.5 sacks on the season. No other player had more than five sacks.
  • They were third in the NFL in interceptions, collecting 18.
  • The Rams allowed the ninth highest yards per completion on the season at 11.8. So on average, every completion went for a first down.

Dak Prescott is playing as well as any quarterback in the playoffs at the moment. Over the last nine games, he's averaging 272 passing yards, two total touchdowns, was only intercepted four times, and was sacked on average 3.2 times per game.

On Saturday night, we saw Scott Linehan put the ball in his hands on a couple designed runs that nearly scored touchdowns. It was an excellent addition to the offense that could help fix the Cowboys red zone woes. Getting Dak Prescott running on some designed runs or quarterback draws could help slow down Aaron Donald and the pass rush.

The Cowboys needed every bit of Dak Prescott magic to overcome a stingy Seattle Seahawks defense in their Wild Card win and they'll need him to step up again this week against the Rams. Every team is going to attempt to take away the running game to make Dak beat you and as he continues to mature, he's getting more and more comfortable doing that. He's comfortable with the big stage and the big moments.

NFL Research on Twitter

Dak Prescott Since 2016, including playoffs * 15 game-winning drives (Most in NFL) * 13 primetime QB wins (Most in NFL) * 19 rush TD (Most in NFL by QB) #DallasCowboys @dak

No Quarterback in the NFL has more game winning drives, rushing touchdowns, or wins in primetime than Dak Prescott. When we talk about Dak Prescott, we talk a lot about the things that he can't do as a passer and deservedly so, he still has some growing to do in that area, but in the things that you can't objectively quantify -- mental toughness, resiliency, clutchness, will, determination -- Dak is one of the best in the NFL. He's as mentally tough as they come in the NFL and he doesn't let the spotlight or the game situation phase him. He has that stuff that's hard to put your finger on.

The Dallas Cowboys will need more of that on Saturday night in Los Angeles. The Rams can score and can score in bunches and if the Cowboys defense starts sluggish or has an off night, they'll need Dak Prescott to keep them in the game. Even if the defense has a good game, Dak still has to come through in the passing game and on the ground to give the Cowboys a chance to pull off the upset.

The Dallas Cowboys are going to try to run the ball against the Rams on Saturday. That's their identity; run the ball, control the clock, and be efficient in the passing game. Prescott, either with his legs or with his arm will have to make some plays to extend drives and keep the Rams offense on the sideline. He'll need to be sharp in the red zone to convert those opportunities into touchdowns. Settling for field goals against the Rams is how the Cowboys get beat.

This matchup with the Rams looks to set up nicely for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, yet how things look on paper doesn't mean much when the lights go on and the whistle blows. It's a big stage and it's another win-or-go-home game for the Cowboys (like every game has been over the last nine weeks). In a big game, you need big time players, and the Cowboys have one in quarterback Dak Prescott.



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