Receiver Dez Bryant’s continuing availability in free agency is getting increasing attention from NFL media. As Dez remains on the open market, and the Dallas Cowboys continue to have uncertainty at the WR position, one might wonder if Bryant couldn’t wind up returning to his former team.
It’s worth noting that the Cowboys didn’t cut Dez because they had a wealth of talent at receiver. In fact, they may have one of the weakest groups in the NFL right now.
They signed Allen Hurns from Jacksonville, but he’s never shown he can be the top guy in an offense. Cole Beasley, Deonte Thompson, Michael Gallup, Noah Brown, and scooter-crashing Terrance Williams; who knows what sort of offense Dallas can cobble together with these pieces?
When Hurns was first signed, Bryant was still on the roster. The prospect of the two of them on the field together, allowing Beasley to work underneath, was intriguing.
But as I wrote about just before Dez was released, it wasn’t a salary cap move. It had to do with team dynamics and chemistry, and those issues probably won’t change if Bryant comes back.
Dak Prescott is still the starting quarterback, and the ineffective partnership that he had with Bryant as his top receiver is a major issue. It’s why Dez was cut, and it’s why he probably wouldn’t return.
Bryant still believes he can be a top receiver in the NFL. That’s why he turned a modest three-year contract from the Baltimore Ravens. He wants a one-year deal with a team that he belies will allow him to put up Pro Bowl numbers again.
That isn’t the Cowboys. Not with Prescott at QB, or with an offensive philosophy centered around running the football with Ezekiel Elliott.
If you think it would be about money, it isn’t. Dallas could afford to pay Bryant whatever he wants to return. They have cap space now and plenty more coming once they get Zack Martin and/or Demarcus Lawrence signed to long-term contracts.
But the Cowboys aren’t going to pay Dez like a number-one WR if they don’t believe he can be that in their offense. Bryant is still a free agent because he’s looking for the right fit at the right price, and neither of those apply to Dallas at this point.
Now if Scooter McGavin winds up suspended or released over his arrest last week for public intoxication, maybe the Cowboys would rethink things. Could they really trust newcomer Deonte Thompson or rookie Michael Gallup to start games right away?
If Bryant is still a free agent a month from now, and Terrance Williams’ fate is sealed, maybe Dallas starts to look at Dez differently. And if he’s still looking for work so close to training camps, maybe Dez would be desperate enough to consider returning.
Such a reunion would mean Bryant accepting that the NFL doesn’t see him anymore the way he sees himself. That would be a tough pill to swallow.
But ultimately, Dez still wants to play football. And as long as the Cowboys could find a role for him, and the hurt feelings have subsided, maybe his love of wearing The Star would help to mend fences.
It’s not likely, of course. Another team will likely come calling before long, and especially if an opening is created by some yet-to-occur incident. Someone else may get in trouble with the law or get injured and open a door for Bryant to find work.
So no, a reunion between the Dallas Cowboys and Dez Bryant isn’t probable, or even all that possible.
But I’m telling you there’s a chance.