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Cowboys Reuniting With Dez Bryant is More Trouble Than it’s Worth

Once coaching changes ran their course, the notion of Dez Bryant returning to the Dallas Cowboys has been one of the hottest topics of the offseason. But from at least this fan’s perspective, any reunion with our former franchise receiver would be more trouble than Dez is currently worth.

To be clear, and I really mean this, I love and respect everything that Bryant did for the Cowboys during his time here. He was a legitimate number-one WR when healthy and also played through a lot of injuries. He was one of many players that deserved to win a Super Bowl but was let down by other issues on the team.

However, my memory must be longer or stronger than some portion of our fanbase. I seem to recall a lot of other aspects of Dez Bryant that others either are conveniently forgetting.

I remember the sideline shouting matches with teammates and coaches.

I remember lawsuits over unpaid debts and property damage.

I remember his arrest in 2012 on domestic violence charges involving his mother.

I remember about a month ago when Dez said he felt “no sympathy” for Jason Garrett being let go as head coach. The same coach who had a hand in drafting Bryant and standing by him through all of the above.

I remember his lack of grace when the team released him in April of 2018. I remember him calling Sean Lee a “snake” on the way out the door, accusing teammates of orchestrating his release.

But more than anything, and most importantly to this discussion, I remember that Dez Bryant wasn’t that good for the last 2-3 years of his Cowboys career.

Dez Bryant: You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks
WR Dez Bryant

Many Cowboys fans, including Dez, seem unwilling to admit how ineffective he was in 2016 and 2017. He could still make the occasional highlight play but the days of being a 1,000-yard receiver or having double-digit touchdowns were long gone.

Some have tried to pin it on a lack of chemistry with Dak Prescott, which there’s some truth to. But Dak hasn’t had any trouble getting numbers out of other receivers. Comparatively, third-receiver Randall Cobb’s stats in 2019 were very close to Bryant’s in 2017.

And remember that in 2017 defenses were double-teaming Cole Beasley instead of Dez Bryant. Please remember that.

The cold, hard truth on Dez is that he got by on raw athletic ability for his first 4-5 seasons. Once he started slowing down, Bryant did not have the technical skills to make up for being unable to outrun or overpower his defenders.

Now I know that Dez has been reportedly hard to get his body right for a return to the NFL. But unless he found a DeLoreon, some plutonium, and 1.21 gigawatts then I don’t see how you can expect Bryant to be anything more at ages 31-32 than he was three years ago.

For the last two years we’ve seen Dez do little more than cater to sycophantic social media followers with various remarks either criticizing the Cowboys or stating his desire to return. Most recently, he’s thrown out the idea that he’s willing to return and not be the “focal point” of an offense.

Easy to say. But do we believe that?

Michael Gallup
Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup

The Cowboys already have a franchise WR in Amari Cooper, an emerging second threat in Michael Gallup, and a productive slot receiver in Randall Cobb. Barring any surprises this offseason, all are expected to return in 2020.

Is there truly room for Dez Bryant at that point? It’d be in the same realm as having Tim Tebow or Colin Kaepernick as your backup quarterback, and we see how NFL teams have handled that one. They don’t want the media attention without the on-field value.

Even if Bryant was a model citizen, he’d still be getting the camera and microphones in his face constantly. Media would be hoping for the slightest negative or critical remark that they could run with. They will create controversy on anything Dez gives them, no matter how unwittingly.

And rest assured that Bryant would give them something. He’s not very witting at times.

But really, why should we think that Dez could handle that kind of minor role on offense? When has he ever shown himself, even as of a couple years ago when released by Dallas, to be professionally minded?

Even if Cooper or Cobb don’t return in 2020, is a reunion with Dez Bryant really the right option?

Remember, Dez remained a free agent from April of 2018 until the second week of November. The other 31 teams in the NFL didn’t want him until the Saints decided to take a gamble with the season halfway over.

Dez Bryant
Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant

The Cowboys moved on when they did for salary cap reasons but also other issues. And those others issues were enough that the rest of the NFL had no interest in Bryant as a free agent for almost seven months.

That should tell you way more about Dez’s value than any tweet or video from a workout.

He seems to have fully recovered form his Achilles tear but is turning 32 years old in November, after already physically breaking down in his late 20s. Nobody expected Bryant to have a long NFL career; his physical style was destined for early wear and tear.

But along with that, Bryant is still chirping on Twitter about former coaches. He still craves attention and doesn’t mind if it comes at someone else’s expense.

The sum of these parts is a player who is unlikely to help you much on the field and could be a major liability off of it.

Maybe a fresh start and opportunity with a different team would work out better, but there is simply too much baggage in Dallas for Dez Bryant to have a successful return here. He’d be another Jason Witten; an aged relic whose past accomplishments aren’t going to win us Super Bowls now.

The past can keep Dez Bryant. Plenty of us have already moved on and the Dallas Cowboys need to stick to their decision in 2018.

He’s not worth the trouble anymore.

What do you think?

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Jess Haynie

Written by 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!

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  1. This will not sit well for many Cowboys fans, but this article is spot on. I seem to also remember he wasn’t a good route runner, which caused him and Dak to not mesh either. I am sorry he is gone, but gone he is. If he at least showed any upside, than maybe …never mind.

  2. This writer is obviously not a Dez fan, I’m not even a Cowboys fan but Dez is the best receiver they’ve ever had hands down. The reason the Cowboys haven’t won a Super Bowl is bcuz they can’t stop other teams from scoring when it’s crunch time and Jerry Jones needs to give the reigns to his son

  3. Amari Cooper disappears in games he is not a #1 he Is a 2. And Just like Dak Not willing to take less to Win Championships so I personally am not looking foward to the contracts about to be given to 2 millennials who don’t have enough self awareness to know that the cap will hinder both their numbers and the team’s success

  4. Bring back my MAN DEZ BRYANT! He’s been working on his routes, he doesn’t want to be the focus on the offense. Cut Witten and PAY DAK! Why is this blogger even published?

  5. I agree 100% with the writer. I was a big Bryant fan. However, he doesn’t have the ability at this point in his career to justify the Cowboys bringing him back. In addition to him being a total distraction, which he most certainly would become. He would just stunt the growth of younger players. Just like Jason Witten has done!

  6. I agree with some stuff in this article, but I believe he deserves a second chance!! If he’s really willing to be the number 4 WR he’s is definitely worth bringing back!! I do remember the stuff he’s done in the past, but apparently you don’t remember the WRs we had to have come in when Cooper was hurt or when he just didn’t wanna play cause he didn’t like the play calling!! I do remember and I’d much rather have Dez come in and play when Cooper wants or needs to go to the sideline than some Tavon Austin, or Vontez Bryant…. Whoever he is!! I’m sure Dez is better than those other guys even in his 30s!! So yeah, I’ll take my chances and give Dez a second chance!! It sounds way better than having Tavon Austin or that other Bryant guy as a backup!!

  7. Dez was more productive his last 2 yes than the eagles top receivers. His chemistry wit dak is being overlooked. Dak was NOT the qb we’re seeing now. The sideline “blowups” when heard was never anything but talk to get his team fired up. His alpha is what’s missing on this team. Stats be damn. If we can bring back witten (a shell of himself) thus blocking and finding out what we really have in jarwin why not bring dez back as no worse than a #3-4 wr. And what the hell does property damage, and issues with his family (charges)have to do with productivity on the field? Plus the stuff was not recent. Just placed to sway ppl towards your opinion. Garrett should have been shown the door. He “wasted” many careers.

    • I agree on Garrett. And Witten.

      But if Dez couldn’t find chemistry with Dak in 2016-2017, it’s not happening now. He’s not the kind of WR that Prescott will ever be able to work with, and Bryant’s prime is long gone.

  8. I have to disagree with people who say Dez wouldn’t be good to bring back the way I am looking at it is how many other players have the Cowboys brought in here that didn’t workout is there any harm in giving Dez a look I don’t think so the most that could happen is that Dez wouldn’t work out for the team it would be no different then if you bring in another player and they wouldn’t workout the team just cuts them and moves on that’s how it works but look at it this way if Dez comes in here and it does workout you have another option to go to on offense and if you don’t have to pay him a lot that’s even better.

    Then people always bring up the past about Dez and the way he acted well people do change when they get older just like myself and a lot of other people out there when your young you do some dumb things in your life and I think Dez would have to know if he screws this chance up there will not be another chance for him, so give Dez the chance to prove himself if it works great if it don’t then the Cowboys just move on it’s that easy they gave old man Witten a chance so I think Dez should be given the same chance.

  9. I would not bring Dez back, but not for the reasons others have noted. The “decine” in Dez’ production matches exactly the arrival of Dak Prescott as the Cowboys starting QB. Dak suffers from a lack of accuracy, which no amount of coaching or practice can ever correct. So let’s blame Dez for the missed passes. Dak does not have good field vision, a problem mentioned as far back as his pre-draft days. So he lacks anticipation, which no amount of practice or coaching can ever correct. By the time he sees an opening, the defensive back has seen it, too. So let’s blame Dez for not being able to catch those passes that arrived too late. Dak has a release time that can easily be measured by a sun dial, which cannot be corrected by practice or coaching. (When Tony Romo was the Cowboy’s QB, he had, along with the earlier Dan Marino, the quickest release ever recorded in the NFL. Dez wasn’t “declining” then,) I would not bring Dez back, given who the likely Cowboy QB is likely to be.

    • Wow! Those are some harsh words for ole Dak! But I can’t argue with you. I do think that experience can resolve those issues though. Better recognition of the defense will increase both field of vision and release time (because hesitancy is reduced). Accuracy can also be improved when the QB has better recognition, resulting in a smoother release. I think the new coaching staff can help Dak get over the top of these issues and help him become a better QB. However, I still would not bring back Dez Bryant. I love the group of receivers the Cowboys have now. Gallup, Cobb, Cooper, Wilson, and Smith can all be big contributors. I would be surprised if Austin is still there next year though. Not that he is a bad WR, I just don’t think he is the right type for this offense.

      • Field vision is something that never changes with experience: it is the ability to see multiple things simultaneously. You have it or you do not. Release time has nothing to do with hesitancy or familiarity with defenses: it is the time it takes to get the arm around as you throw the ball. And accuracy is not something that comes with increased practice: notice how many of Dak’s incomplete passes were over the head of the receiver, or behind the receiver. Scouts all noticed his lack of accuracy in college, and it hasn’t gotten any better.
        Don’t get me started on why Dak had more receiver drops than any other QB in the league. Most of that can be attributed to the receivers, but when ALL of them are dropping passes, and the single variable amongst all them is the QB who is throwing the ball, you have to wonder. It is not as obvious because of the lack of accuracy, but he is throwing something that at times does not lend itself to catchability. I have no idea what that is, but we can see the results.

  10. I agree 100%. I was thinking the same things when Bryant started his campaign to get back with the Cowboys. He was too much of a distraction and always will be. The Cowboys have better receivers now anyway. Plus, besides Cooper, Cobb and Gallup, there are others waiting in the wings to make their mark. Cedric Wilson and Devin Smith could be breakout performers if healthy. And who knows what the 2020 draft will bring….

    Sorry Dez, your days are over.

  11. You’re panting us the picture that Aside from the Saints, the other 31 teams in the league didn’t want him? Lies and fake news. You conveniently left out the multi year offer the Baltimore Ravens made to him….bringing up law suits and property damage and 1 petty arrest that was like 8 years ago??? Really?? Had he been arrested SINCE then? Or did he learn his lesson? Dislike Dez but don’t Come At anyone with this weak petty BS.

  12. Couldn’t agree more. As you stated, there are valid reasons why there is virtually no interest in Bryant from any NFL franchise. Last productive season was 2014. Has likely played his last down in the NFL. There’s always the XFL.

  13. Dez was still getting open in 2017. Coming off a monster playoff game vs GB. He was getting open. Balls were thrown out of range or not at all. The film doesn’t lie. What doomed him was his mental instability. When he gets in his own head he has difficulty catching and holding onto the ball. He also had contract offers before the 2018 season, you can’t omit this fact to match the articles narrative. He notably turned down 3 years for $21m from Baltimore. I am afraid of his personality, when the team is losing. But if he’s a part of a winning team and in small role, I don’t see the harm. And if Coop or Gallup get hurt again you know you have a professional to fill in.

  14. Jess Haynie you’re the only one that don’t want Dez Bryant on the cowboys don’t say us its you all the cowboy fans across the world want Dez Bryant back on the cowboys Plus me

  15. Players do dominate in this league by “wide” margins.
    It’s typically, inches… and desire.

    Dez, with all the negative attributes you can recall… have always been dominant. Even coming off an injury… with limited targets… he barely missed registering 1,000 yards.

    Jerry Jones and his boys rarely honors their contracts. Don’t buy the smear-tactics they use to justify their intent to renig.

    When Dez called out coaches (rightfully so) and Jerry Jones handlers who were ripping him off (rightfully so)… the vulnerable “beast boy” they draft started to right the ship for himself… and people did no tlike that.

    He will be an upgrade to an overhyped, soft and under-manned WR corp.
    He deserves to remain Dallas’ All-Time Recieving & Scoring Leader.
    He deserves an opportunity to play for a fanbase that never stopped loving him.

    He deserves a chance to make haters like you look stupid… again!

  16. Absolutely give him a chance he belongs here, and Dak in a roundabout way needs him. He as your 4 or 5 or If he could rotate into TE for some plays would be a instant upgrade. A presence the locker room could feed off..I hope everyday he signs. Cowboys4life

  17. A lot of Dez Dez simps on here. They also forget him going awol with a rookie QB, they also forgot how ineffective he was against top corners late in his cowboys career. The writer hit every point. Dez looks like a desperate ex.

  18. I’m sorry. Ut this article leaves so much out. The write most likely only read about the Cowboys more than seeing them. Dez numbers went down because fo the QB play and the offensive scheme not his abilities. Let put a lot into perspective before saying someone could not play. A lot of balls thrown to Dez in those years were not uncatchable. The so call crimes the write lays out show that he did not understand or knew all the facts before writing them out. On top of that we have had players with absolutely way more outrageous problems. If not him you need a play with that attitude to push these team from the players position

  19. I’m torn between both sides. I sometimes miss Dez, but sometimes I don’t. Of course I think bringing him back would amp up the offense even more. He did draw a lot of attention in his prime, put him in the game and teams would struggle figuring out who to cover, Cooper? Gallup? Cobb? Dez? who knows. With one drawing the attention it leaves room open for others to make big plays. However Dez was also a lot of drama on and off the field, he did get butt hurt when the team let him go, lashing out on his team mates…I followed his twitter the whole time and he was more douchy than humble, which is understandable, but that hurts your chances of coming back at all if any. I think it could be good if he behaves himself and acts more like a team player, team leader, and humble athlete instead of the attention whore he was.
    One other thing I would like to settle though. I was looking at some statistics after seeing some say that Dez was the best receiver Dallas has had in recent years. I would like to point out that in Coopers first full year with the Cowboys he had better numbers and more reliability than Dez did, even in his first few games after being traded to the Cowboys, Cooper was just shy of doing better statistically than Dez did when he was in his prime. Not to mention there are a number of other receivers that were beyond Dez stats and have the championship stats to prove it!

  20. Dez was done wrong he should have never been cut and he still gas in the tank stop bashing a man bringing up old things to down him he was passionate about the game stop bashing i hate bloggers like you and Dak was part of the blame as well Romo and dez chemistry was 100%

  21. First of all Witten is still a beast everybody says he is so slow but he still gets open and dont usually drop passes.. Dez bryant is a great wr people dont like him because he showed how much passion he had when he was playing.. but you bring up things that happened almost 10 years ago..I am a Dallas Cowboys fan and I always will be.. I would be fine with Dez coming back to Dallas but I dont see him being a starter since we have randall cobb and amari cooper, and I cant see Dez wanting to be a back up..But if he happens to come back to Dallas I would not be mad..X Dez is a beast!!!!!!!X

  22. He was a total distraction. He couldn’t get along with players or coaches and badmouthed them when he left. He couldn’t get separation then and dropped balls. He must need money. We saw other teams weren’t interested and neither should we. I as a fan and season ticket holder am glad he’s gone.

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