Dallas Cowboys Should Cowboys Restructure WR Dez Bryant’s Contract? Published 11 months ago on February 12, 2017 By Jess Haynie Share Tweet You’ve probably already read somewhere that restructuring Dez Bryant‘s contract is one easy way the Dallas Cowboys can improve their 2017 salary cap issues. While I have no issue with this when it comes to some other players, moving money on Bryant’s deal could wind up being more trouble than it’s worth. Right now, Dez is scheduled to count $17 million against the Cowboys’ 2017 cap. He has $25 million left in dead money, the guaranteed bonuses that have to be paid out through the life of the contract. His deal expires after the 2019 season. Wide receiver Dez Bryant Dez Bryant Has Red Flags Dez Bryant turns 29-years-old in November. He has missed 10 games over the last two seasons and played hurt, with limited effectiveness, in others. He still has moments and whole games where he looks like an elite receiver, but most Dallas fans would admit that he’s not quite as explosive or dominant as in the past. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not here to bash Dez. However, the good of the team always comes first no matter who we’re talking about. Restructuring Bryant’s contract may be good for Dallas’ in the present but could cause problems in the future. When contracts get restructured, guaranteed money gets pushed into later years to create immediate cap space. That means you lose flexibility in those later years when the cap hits are at their highest. Even if the player isn’t performing to the level at which you’re paying him, releasing him either doesn’t save you anything on the salary cap or even limited savings simply aren’t worth the penalty. Tony Romo‘s current contract situation is a warning for what could happen with Dez Bryant. (Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) Comparison to Tony Romo’s Contract Romo’s contract situation is a good example of potential problems. The Cowboys have restructured his deal several times and now can’t trade or cut him without a $19 million penalty. Granted, Dallas didn’t expect to be in this position so soon with Romo. Still, this shows the value of preserving your flexibility for when unexpected things happen. Now, compare that to Jay Cutler and the Bears. Despite his being signed through 2020, Cutler’s deal only has $2 million left in guaranteed money. The Bears will almost surely be cutting him this offseason and saving $14 million in salary cap space off of the scheduled $16 million cap hit. Cowboys Need to Preserve Salary Cap Flexibility Within the next two years the Cowboys will need to give guard Zack Martin a long-term deal. They may also be looking at new deals for guard La’el Collins, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, and safety Byron Jones. Oh, and some kids named Zeke and Dak are going to be needing more money in a few years, too. Can the Cowboys afford to keep pay Dez like an elite receiver if he continues to decline and miss games? Here’s a look at the final three years of Dez Bryant’s contract: 2017 – $17 million cap hit ($25m dead money) 2018 – $16.5 million cap hit ($8m dead money) 2019 – $16.5 million cap hit ($4m dead money) One smart thing that Dallas did was keeping the later years of the deal from having escalating cap hits. Even with that, though, Dez is still currently scheduled to have the highest cap hit of any NFL wide receiver in 2017. If the contract remains untouched, Dallas can save $8.5 million in 2018 or $14.5 million in 2019 by releasing Bryant. Those numbers will drop significantly if his deal is restructured, limiting the Cowboys’ flexibility and the value of parting ways. Even if he’s no longer elite, Dez Bryant will still be a quality starting wide receiver for the next few years. If you were to cut him, replacing him might cost about as much as you’d be saving. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) These decisions are never easy and especially when they come to beloved players. Dez means a lot to the team and its fans, but what just happened with Tony Romo is a warning that you should always be prepared for things to change. All it takes is one season for some little-known player to soar up the depth chart and demand a new contract, like Miles Austin in 2009. Or, like Dez Bryant himself in 2010, you never know when a talented receiver might fall to you in the late first round. Dallas could find Dez’s replacement sooner than they think, making it all the more critical to preserve their ability to release him. ~ ~ ~ So, what’s the final verdict? To be honest, I don’t know if there is a definitive answer at this point. I believe the ideal solution is to try and avoid restructuring Dez Bryant’s contract this year if you can. See how 2017 goes; can Dez stay on the field and maintain a high level of play? If so, perhaps you can do some things in 2018 and 2019 free up salary cap space without the same worries. However, this March there could be a much-needed pass rusher, defensive back, or some other free agents that the Cowboys want to sign. If you can’t make those deals without restructuring Dez Bryant then you simply may not have a choice. ADVERTISEMENT Related Topics:2017 Salary CapDez BryantWide Receiver Up Next Cowboys 2017 Free Agency: Versatility Makes Micah Hyde An Intriguing Option Don't Miss Cowboys Salary Cap: Special Teams Earns Their Money Jess Haynie Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I’ll be sure to respond! Advertisement You may like WR Brice Butler Makes Waves With Controversial Comments Cowboys Draft Target: Louisiana State WR D.J. Chark 3 Free Agent Wide Receiver Options for the Dallas Cowboys Dallas Cowboys: 3 Best Plays of the 2017 Season Cowboys Draft Target: Colorado State WR Michael Gallup Straight Outta Dallas: Cole Beasley Releases His First Rap Single 4 Comments deal with it I think we need to work more on the process (yeah,Ihate that phrase too) rather than the “name”.the Patriots never seem to have cap issues & can pug-n-play year in & year out. John Boy Cut Dez. He sucks. Look at the last two years of production. Way overpaid for nothing. Jess Haynie Can’t cut him right now with his contract, but I can’t disagree with the notion that he’s not performing up to that level consistently. It’s definitely why the need to keep their option open for the future and not restructure. John Boy Or trade him to get rid of the baggage. Dallas Cowboys Cowboys Losing Linebackers Coach Matt Eberflus to Colts Published 4 hours ago on January 16, 2018 By Jess Haynie Multiple sources are reporting Matt Eberflus — who has been the linebackers coach and passing game coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys — will leave to join the Indianapolis Colts as the new defensive coordinator. Eberflus has been with Dallas since 2011, having joined Rob Ryan’s staff when Ryan become the coordinator for the Cowboys’ defense. He has been the linebackers coach during his entire Dallas tenure and was also named passing game coordinator in 2016. Tom Pelissero on Twitter With Josh McDaniels ticketed for the #Colts, former #Cowboys assistant Matt Eberflus is expected to come along as defensive coordinator, I’m told. Lot of parts falling in place now. If not the Colts, some thought Matt Eberflus might end up replacing Matt Patricia as the defensive coordinator in New England. Either way, it does not appear Dallas could have kept him around while Rod Marinelli remains in his current position. Eberflus’ work in Dallas speaks for itself, and primarily through LB Sean Lee. He has been Lee’s position coach for all but his rookie season, and in that time Lee has been one of the top defensive players in all of football. Beyond Lee, Eberflus has also been able to get quality play out of mid-round picks like Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson. We also saw Jaylon Smith make significant progress this season. Given Matt Eberflus has never worked with Josh McDaniels before, the fact he was on the Colts’ radar says a lot. Make no mistake; the Cowboys lost a good one here. Don’t panic, however. Coach Marinelli has cast a very wide net during his time in the NFL and there are a lot of potential guys, some with plenty of experience, that Dallas might look to. It’s entirely possible that Eberflus’ replacement will be someone who Marinelli spends 2018 grooming to take over as the defensive coordinator. Still, of all the coaching changes so far for Dallas, this one hurts most. ADVERTISEMENT Continue Reading Dallas Cowboys Cowboys Hire Longtime Bengals OL Coach Paul Alexander Published 1 day ago on January 15, 2018 By Kevin Brady Thus far the 2018 offseason has brought a plethora of change to the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Now it is being reported the Cowboys have hired a brand new offensive line coach, former Cincinnati Bengals’ Offensive Line Coach Paul Alexander. Alex Marvez on Twitter Source tells @sportingnews that Paul Alexander hired as new @dallascowboys offensive line coach Alexander coached with the Bengals for over 20 years, and replaces the same man in Dallas who replaces him in Cincinnati, Frank Pollack. Alexander has also been the Bengals assistant head coach since 2003. The Cowboys recently lost an assistant head coach when Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia left for Jon Gruden’s Oakland Raiders. Per usual, the hire has been met with mixed reactions from Cowboys Nation. Joey Ickes on Twitter Since 2003, CIN has had only one season where they finished top-10 in Yards per attempt on the ground… They’ve been bottom-5 in the league 5 times in that span… That’s the OL Coach DAL just hired. The hiring of an offensive line coach who’s rushing attack finished bottom five in the league in rushing yards per attempt five times since 2003 doesn’t look too great on paper. He will also teach with different techniques and styles than previous Cowboys OL coaches, which could potentially set back the offensive line early in the season. Plus, respected Bengals’ writer Joe Goodberry did not exactly love the hire for the Cowboys. Goodberry on Twitter Pretty bad https://t.co/fysjZqCQ6l Regardless, this is still a very talented offensive line and one which should lead an effective ground attack based on their talent alone. 2017 proved further that coaching matters a lot in the NFL however, and the wrong hire could set back even the most talented of units. We will just have to wait and see how this 2018 season ends up playing out. ADVERTISEMENT Continue Reading Dallas Cowboys Mike Solari, Paul Alexander Candidates for Cowboys Vacant OL Coaching Job Published 2 days ago on January 14, 2018 By Sean Martin By keeping all three top coaches (Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, and Rod Marinelli) in place for 2018, there isn’t a Dallas Cowboys coaching hire that feels like they “must” get it right to contend next season. This is how it should be. Producing nine wins, despite missing key players throughout the season, the Cowboys are changing things up at the position coach level to hopefully introduce new ideas and give the talent on this team a better chance at sustained success. One coaching vacancy that needs to be filled by the right guy above any else is on the offensive line, where things haven’t been the same since the great Bill Callahan departed. Frank Pollack took his place, and now finds himself with the Cincinnati Bengals after not being retained by Dallas this offseason. Tom Cable (Stephen Brashear / Getty Images) The first name that was thrown around in consideration for the Cowboys job was Tom Cable, which sent a panic throughout Cowboys Nation before Cable decided to sign with John Gruden and the Raiders. Cable had been coaching the Seahawks’ OL, a position that franchise has not valued in some time, and struggled to develop any talent in protection of their franchise QB Russell Wilson. Now, two new names have emerged as candidates to coach the likes of two-time 1st Team All-Pro LT Tyron Smith, 1st Team All-Pro C Travis Frederick, and two-time 1st Team All-Pro RG Zack Martin. Mike Solari and Paul Alexander Paul Alexander has already met with the Dallas Cowboys, looking for work after 23 seasons with the Bengals. During this time, Alexander served as Marvin Lewis’ assistant head coach, in addition to his duties as their OL coach. Judging on reactions out of Cincinnati to Alexander’s departure, the Bengals offensive line regressed under him in 2017, warranting change from a franchise that is as reluctant as any to move on from coaches. Goodberry on Twitter Paul Alexander better be gone Most recently, Mike Solari has served as the offensive line coach for the New York Giants — far from a renowned unit around the NFL lately. He does have previous experience with the Cowboys, having served as an assistant OL and special teams coach here from 1987-88. From 2006-07, Solari did reach the rank of offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs, which shows the level of respect that the 30-year NFL coaching veteran has earned. He will be the Dallas Cowboys’ next interview for their open OL coach position. Dallas Cowboys RT La’el Collins, RG Zack Martin Depth at tackle, a long-term answer at left guard, and an extension for Zack Martin are among the questions facing the Cowboys offensive line moving forward. Whoever is in charge of keeping this unit up to standard in 2018 though, may hold the keys to getting the entirety of the Cowboys’ program back on track. Whether it’s Alexander, Solari, or another outside candidate yet to emerge, Inside The Star will keep you updated on the Cowboys’ ongoing coaching search. Tell us what you think about “Mike Solari, Paul Alexander Candidates for Cowboys Vacant OL Coaching Job” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL! 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