#88 Dez Bryant
Desmond Demond “Dez” Bryant was born in Galveston County, Texas on November 4, 1988. He played collegiately at Oklahoma State University. He is currently a wide receiver in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys, who drafted him in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Dez Bryant was born in Galveston County, Texas, but eventually moved to Lufkin, Texas, where he attended Lufkin High School. He excelled in both football and track and field during his high school career.
Bryant was one of the top performers in the entire state of Texas at triple jump with a career-best leap of 14.17m. He also excelled in the 110 and 300m hurdles. His best time in the 110m hurdle was 14.56 seconds and his best time the 300m hurdle was 40.70 seconds. Dez Bryant was also a member of the 4 x 100m relay team running a time of 40.62 seconds and the 4 x 200m relay running a time of 1:28.35.
Although he was a top performer in track and field events, he really made a name for himself on the football field during his time at Lufkin High School.
As a junior, he caught 48 passes for 1,025 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. He helped lead Lufkin to a 14-1 record, but eventually ended up losing to Southlake Carroll in the 5A Division II state semifinals 46-28.
In his senior year, Dez Bryant caught 53 passes for 1,207 yards and scored 21 touchdowns. He once again helped lead his team to a winning record of 11-1, but lost to Round Rock in the area round of the playoffs. He was an All-State selection and was also named All-American by Parade and SuperPrep. After the season, he participated in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.
Dez Bryant was regarded as a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and was listed as the #9 wide receiver prospect in the class of 2007. He was the second best rated receiver behind only Terrence Tolliver in the state of Texas. He was recruited by numerous collegiate programs and took official visits to Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech, before ultimately deciding on Oklahoma State.
Dez Bryant attended Oklahoma State University from 2007 to 2009.
As a freshman, Dez Bryant played in 12 games and caught 43 receptions for 622 receiving yards and scored six touchdowns, finishing second on the team. He set a freshman record for receiving yards (155) in a game against the University of Kansas. He was also named second-team Freshman All-American.
In 2008, Dez Bryant finished the year with 87 receptions for 1,480 receiving yards and scored 19 touchdowns, including two punt returns for TDs. He earned All-American first-team honors from numerous outlets, joining running back Kendall Hunter as the first OSU sophomore position player to receive the national recognition since Thurman Thomas in 1985.
Dez Bryant was also a first-team All-Big 12 choice and finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation’s top wide receiver. This was in large part due to the fact he led the conference in receiving yards per game (113.9), scoring (9.7-tied for second in the nation), touchdown receptions (19), and punt return average (18.0).
As a junior, Dez Bryant was a consensus All-American, All-Big Conference first-team selection, member of the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Maxwell Award and Biletnikoff Award Watch Lists in his final collegiate season in 2009.
He played only three games in 2009 after he was ruled ineligible the rest of the season for violating NCAA bylaw. He didn’t fully disclose his interaction with Deion Sanders, which was the reason for his NCAA violation. He was considered a possible Heisman candidate prior to his suspension.
Despite only playing three games, Bryant still finished third on the team with 17 catches for 323 yards and four touchdowns. He also had 111 yards on punt returns, including an 82 yarder that he returned for a touchdown. He finished the season with 477 all-purpose yards.
2010 NFL Draft
Dez Bryant declared he would enter the 2010 NFL Draft on November 5, 2009. He was widely regarded as the best wide receiver in the draft class but his draft stock took a hit due to character concerns.
The Dallas Cowboys held the 27th overall draft pick, but ended up trading with the New England Patriots to select Dez Bryant with the 24th overall pick. To trade up three spots, the Dallas Cowboys sent their third round draft pick (90th overall) and received the Patriots fourth round draft pick (119th overall) in return.
The Dallas Cowboys officially signed Dez Bryant to his rookie contract on July 22, 2010. The following day, on July 23, 2010 it was announced that Dez Bryant would wear number 88, the same jersey number that Hall of Famer Michael Irvin and Cowboys legend Drew Pearson wore during their playing days.
Dez Bryant’s first official touchdown in the NFL came on a 31-yard pass from quarterback Tony Romo on October 17, 2010. His rookie season was officially cut short when he had to be placed on injured reserve after fracturing his ankle returning a kickoff against the Indianapolis Colts.
He finished his rookie season with 45 catches for 561 yards and six receiving touchdowns. He also returned two punts for touchdowns, including a 93 yarder, averaged 14.3 yards per punt return and 24.4 yards per kickoff return.
In 2011, Dez Bryant would start opposite Miles Austin after the Cowboys decided to part ways with Roy Williams. In the first game of the season, against the New York Jets, he had three receptions for 71 yards and scored a touchdown, but he suffered a thigh bruise that would cause him to miss the next game against the San Francisco 49ers. He finished his second season in the NFL with 63 catches for 928 yards and nine touchdowns.
In 2012, Dez Bryant enjoyed the best season of his career thus far in the NFL. He finished the season with 92 receptions for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns; these ranked 10th, sixth, and third, among all wide receivers.
He did have to play through several injuries in 2012. He injured his finger in early December, but opted to play through the pain for the betterment of the team. He also had to leave the final game of the season against the Washington Redskins in the fourth quarter due to a back injury. The injury was so severe that he could barely walk.
In 2013, Dez Bryant had career highs in both receptions (93) and touchdowns (13). He also racked up 1,233 receiving yards. He finished eighth in the NFL in catches, 13th in yards, and third in touchdowns among all wide receivers. Based on his 2013 performance, Dez Bryant finally made his first Pro Bowl appearance.
In 2014, Dez Bryant decided to have his best season as a professional. It also happened to be his last year of his rookie contract. He finished the 2014 season with 88 catches for 1,320 yards and 16 touchdowns. His 16 receiving touchdowns set a franchise record previously held by Terrell Owens (15). He also made his second Pro Bowl and was chosen as a first-team All-Pro.
In 2014, Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys would make the playoffs only to be knocked out in the divisional round by the Green Bay Packers. The Cowboys ended the 2014 season on a controversial catch in which Dez Bryant was involved. Initially, he was ruled as making the catch, which set the Cowboys up at the 1 yard line. The catch was challenged by Packers head coach, Mike McCarthy and was eventually overturned. The official ruling was that Bryant didn’t maintain possession of the ball all the way to the ground, thus not completing the catch.
On March 3, 2015, the Dallas Cowboys placed the nonexclusive franchise tag on Dez Bryant. It wasn’t until July 15 that Bryant and the Cowboys were able to reach a five-year $70 million contract extension.
In the first game of the season against the New York Giants, Dez Bryant left the game with a foot injury. X-rays later revealed that he had a stress fracture in his foot and that it would require surgery. The recovery time from the surgery was expected to be 4-6 weeks and he eventually returned in week 8 against the Seattle Seahawks.
Dez Bryant was never quite himself in the 2015 season and was limited to just nine games. He ended the season with just 31 receptions for 401 receiving yards and three touchdowns. After the season, he underwent foot and ankle surgeries on January 6, 2016.
The Dallas Cowboys signed Dez Bryant to a five-year $70 million contract with $32 million fully guaranteed on July 15, 2015. He will make an average of $14 million per season and his contract makes him the 6th highest paid of 382 wide receivers in the NFL.
- In 2016 his base salary is $9 million and his cap hit is $13 million
- In 2017 his base salary is $13 million and his cap hit is $17 million
- In 2018 his base salary is $12,500,000 and his cap hit is $16,500,000
- In 2019 his base salary is $12,500,000 and his cap hit is $16,500,000
It will be really interesting to see what the Dallas Cowboys decide to do with Dez Bryant once his contract expires.
Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency?
A season after Jason Witten's retirement, the Dallas Cowboys still have a need at tight end. Replacing a future Hall of Famer is no easy feat so it's only logical that it would take longer than a season to feel good about who's in at tight end.
The Cowboys currently have two tight ends who could be pretty serviceable going forward. Fourth round pick Dalton Schultz did a very solid job as the team's TE2, specially toward the second half of the season. He turned into a pretty good run blocker and despite only racking up 116 yards in 12 catches, he's a guy the Cowboys' offense could use even more in the future.
Also on the team is Blake Jarwin, who functioned as the Cowboys' main tight end for most of 2018. His performance against the New York Giants in week 17 made us wonder whether or not he could be an important target on the Cowboys' offense.
These two could very well have more in them than what we've seen. With a new offensive coordinator in town, tight end is a position the Cowboys could start using way more. As Bobby Belt pointed out on Twitter a few weeks ago, Scott Linehan's offense doesn't benefit tight ends very much. Before we give a verdict on what Schultz and Jarwin can do, I'd like to see them work with Kellen Moore's offense.
One thing you consistently see when Scott Linehan takes over an offense is a drop in the starting tight end's production. Randy McMichael, Byron Chamberlain, and Jason Witten all saw drops in yards per catch, receptions per game, and yards per game once Linehan took over.
Here's the thing. If the Cowboys are not taking a tight end in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, are they really upgrading what they already have? I'm not sure we'll be convinced about that if they draft a player for the position until the third or fourth round. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating for the Cowboys drafting a TE in the second round, because I believe there are more pressing needs on the team. However, signing a veteran free agent might be the better option for upgrading the position.
Should a veteran TE be an option?
This year, there are quite a few interesting names in the tight end market. Veterans such as Jared Cook, Tyler Eifert and even Antonio Gates will be looking for a new team pretty soon. I know, that would be "getting older." But it could also mean getting better. Building a solid TE committee with a veteran leading Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz could be the way to go for this football team.
Eifert is a great tight end... when he's on the field. Durability is his biggest weakness, as he hasn't played more than 10 games since 2016. The Cowboys could take a risk on him and constantly rotate him with Jarwin and Schultz. It may be a huge risk, but it could pay off big time. If the price is right, Eifert should be targeted by the front office.
The 2018 Oakland Raiders had a season to forget, winning only four games. Even still, Jared Cook's season was impressive. He finished the year with 896 yards and multiple 100-yard games. The biggest issue with Cook is his age. He turns 32 in April. But hey, he's literally coming off from a career year.
Jesse James is a younger guy who could also be worth it. He's not an a potent receiver, but he gets it done in the passing game and is one hell of a blocker. James could be a legit, cheaper option for the Cowboys in free agency.
There are a lot of names out there the front office could look at. Charles Clay was just released by the Buffalo Bills and Nick Boyle will be looking for new job after new arrivals pushed him out of the Baltimore Ravens' roster just to mention a few names.
We'll see what the front office's plans are soon enough, but right now, I'd say tight end is a need the Dallas Cowboys should at least try to address in free agency instead of the NFL Draft.
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Cornerback
Unlike other positions on their roster, cornerback appears ready to off the Dallas Cowboys stability in 2019. However, that doesn't mean the team can just ignore it this offseason. There are still a few decisions to be made.
Thanks to a shrewd move in April of last year, Dallas will be enjoying Byron Jones' services at a bargain. They picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract and will be paying him just $6.3 million next season.
That's a steal for a Pro Bowl corner, who generally make more than double that amount in a single year. But the Cowboys are still left the decision of whether or not to give Jones a long-term deal now or wait until he hits free agency in 2020.
It's easy to say that they should enjoy the discount and worry about it next year. But then you risk a second Pro Bowl trip and the lure of the open market. Byron's asking price could only go up.
Of course, Dallas could then also have the option of using the franchise tag.
Keep in mind that Jones will turn 27 this September. Dallas could decide that it makes sense to play through the rookie deal this year, franchise him in 2020, and then reassess when he's about to turn 29 years old.
If they give Byron a long-term deal now then they'll have to pay him like one of the top corners in football. It may be wise to wait.
Another decision facing the Cowboys is if they think they can improve at the second starting position. It was an up-and-down year for Chidobe Awuzie, but he was playing his best toward the end of the season. Dallas could hope that a second year with Kris Richard's coaching, and just more general growth for a third-year player, will elevate Awuzie's game.
However, with plenty of cap space to work with, Dallas could pursue a solid veteran option and then allow Awuzie to play the nickel role. It would not only perhaps improve the CB2 position but also bolster depth overall.
Speaking of depth, Anthony Brown returns for the final year of his rookie deal. While never spectacular, Brown has been a gem as a former sixth-round pick with 29 career starts. He brings exceptional value and may even compete with Awuzie for the starting job.
While arguably the team's best young corner in 2017, Jourdan Lewis comes into this season with a lot of uncertainty. He fell out of favor last season, perhaps for not fitting the physical style that Richard likes. But he did manage to snag the game-clinching interception in Dallas' upset win over the New Orleans Saints.
If a scheme mismatch is the issue, the Cowboys could look to trade Lewis this offseason. He still has two years left on his rookie deal and was considered a first-round prospect by some in 2017. A cornerback-needy club might have more use for him than Dallas seems to.
If they did move Jourdan, the Cowboys might turn to Donovan Olumba to fill out the depth chart. He was one of their surprising performers in last year's training camp and spent the year on the practice squad. At 6'2", he has the size that the team seems to be looking for now in its corners.
More than likely, Dallas will ride with this group in 2019 with no big changes. I do think a Lewis trade is possible, especially with the Cowboys short on draft picks this year. But don't expect any major cap space or draft capital to go at one of the team's more solid positions.
With all the other work Dallas needs done this offseason, a little stability at cornerback is a luxury.
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Center
Even with Dez Bryant's release and Jason Witten's retirement, the loss of Travis Frederick last season may have been the most damaging to the Dallas Cowboys. The team looks forward to getting their All-Pro center back in 2019 while also having a reliable backup still under contract.
Just within the last few weeks, Frederick has provided encouraging updates on his status for next year. It looks like he'll be able to participate in all offseason activities, but the Cowboys would settle for Week One. There appears to be plenty of cushion for that to happen.
Travis' absence in 2018 was seen in various ways. Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times, second-most in all the league, after just 32 and 25 times the previous two seasons. Part of that is missing Frederick's blocking ability, but also the way he would assist with reading the defense and making pre-snap adjustments.
Dallas would've loved having Frederick out there to help Guard Connor Williams, who worked with Travis throughout the offseason only to lose him in late August. It was not an easy way for the rookie to start his career.
We also saw issues in the run game. Even while Ezekiel Elliott led the NFL in rushing, short-yardage situations weren't as easy as they used to be. The Rams were able to neutralize the Cowboys' rushing attack in Dallas' playoff loss, something that Frederick might have helped overcome.
This isn't saying that Joe Looney did a bad job. On the contrary, Looney was more than adequate and helped keep Dallas from suffering far greater damage without Frederick.
After Joe's work in 2018, Dallas won't blink at keeping him on the $1 million salary he's due next year. It's a bargain for a backup of his quality, and especially given his versatility as an option at guard as well.
Not only are Frederick and Looney locked in for 2019, but Dallas also still has backup Adam Redmond under contract through next season. He was added after final cuts last year to be Looney's backup and should return to at least help the team through July and August.
With these guys already in place, there's no reason to think that Dallas will give much attention to the center position during the offseason.
At most, a mid-round draft pick might be used on a player who could potentially replace Looney in 2020 as the backup. Joe's contract ends next season, and he could be competitive for starting jobs with other teams at that point.
With lots of other concerns throughout the roster, Dallas is fortunate to have so much security at center. All signs are positive on Travis Frederick's return, and that is a huge boost to the team as it looks to push forward from last year's playoff run.
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