When the Dallas Cowboys released Dez Bryant, the original thought was he'd have a pretty sizable market for his services. According to reports, however, there doesn't seem to be a market for Dez Bryant at this point.
Both Bleacher Report, and ProFootballTalk.com are reporting a general lack of interest in Dez Bryant by NFL teams, regardless of the money.
Dez Bryant has been testing the market for three weeks now, and it appears that most teams just aren't interested in him, at any price https://t.co/pHZby33UHW
There are several reasons why Dez Bryant's market is as small as a watering hole in the Texas Summer.
Timing of the Dez Bryant Release
First, the timing of his release was definitely not conducive to Dez Bryant getting in on the big money players like Sammy Watkins, Jarvis Landry, and Allen Robinson received in free agency.
Bryant was released nearly six weeks after the start of the free agency period. That definitely hurt his ability to find a team. Not only had teams spent their money, but they began gearing up for the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Dallas Cowboys said it took time to convince Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones that releasing Dez Bryant was the right thing to do.
Whether that's true or not, it left Bryant out in the free agency cold.
Deep Wide Receiver Draft
In the 2018 NFL Draft, there were 34 wide receivers drafted in the 256 picks made this year. Linebacker was the only position that had more selections made during the draft (39). It was always viewed as a deep wide receiver draft. Ten players went in the first three rounds of the draft, which are the premium rounds for teams.
The San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints, teams that were rumored to have interest in Dez Bryant, each drafted a wide receiver with a pick in the first three rounds. The Baltimore Ravens, the other team with interest in Bryant, took one in the fourth round.
As teams get into their mini-camps and OTAs, snaps are at a premium. Teams want to see what the guys on their roster have before bringing in another veteran receiver.
Dez Bryant Over-Inflated his Value
When Dez Bryant left, he targeted the NFC East as a landing spot, just so he could play the Cowboys twice in 2018. Like the rest of the NFL, there hasn't been a ton of interest in Bryant from Cowboys rivals.
The Baltimore Ravens were one of the first to be linked to Dez Bryant and they reportedly offered him a three-year deal worth $21-million dollars. Bryant turned down the offer hoping to sign a one year deal with a bigger guaranteed number to prove himself worthy of a long-term deal.
@AdamSchefter says on ESPN the Ravens were willing to pay Dez Bryant about $7 million per year, and Schefter can't find any other teams willing to pay him anywhere near that amount. Says NFC East teams are not interested -- at least for now. @NBCDFW
Adam Schefter from ESPN reported on NFL Live that far more teams are unwilling to pay Dez Bryant the league minimum than teams that are.
Adam Schefter on Free agent WR Dez Bryant remains unsigned | NFL Live
The New Orleans Saints were rumored to have interest in Bryant as well, but that hasn't led to any sort of offer. Not even much of a rumored pursuit.
The "at least for now" part of Pat Doney's tweet above is an important factor to consider regarding Dez Bryant's market. While team's may not have much interest at the moment, there is a lot of time left between now and week one of the NFL Season.
Dez Bryant's Production
While it's easy to point the finger at others, other teams, and the timing of the release, it may not be as complicated as we're making it out to be.
Will McClay explained to Drew Davison on 103.3 FM ESPN Radio (also of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram), on-field production had just as much to do with Dez Bryant's release as money was. The production didn't match the payment.
“It was a collective deal. The (inability) to win one-on-one, to win down field. There was inconsistency as well as some huge things in his play. So what’s best moving forward for Dez Bryant and the Cowboys, we just made that decision. It’s a production-based business.”
Will McClay on ESPN Radio 103.3 Dallas-Fort Worth
McClay later attempted to clarify those statements with 105.3 The Fan, but it's obvious that the team didn't feel the production Dez Bryant provided was worth the price to have Dez on the Cowboys' roster.
Dez Bryant's Personality
Dez Bryant's personality has long been a debated topic in Cowboys Nation. Many fans feel that the sideline tantrums and tirades are a distraction to the team. However, when players and coaches are asked about it, they talk about the passion and fire that Dez brings as a positive.
Tony Romo, speaking at his US Open qualifier, recently came to Bryant's aide.
"One thing, I don't know how many teams will do their homework on it, but Dez is a good teammate and I think sometimes that might get lost in the way that the emotional aspect of things. If I was talking to any of the GMs or coaches, I would tell them he's not going to hurt the locker room in any possible way. He's going to come out and he'll be a great teammate when he gets there. I think he'll have a couple of options here soon."
But that's not all of the story.
When Dez Bryant was released, he took it very personally and went on a Twitter storm to call people out about how things went down and let people know his displeasure with the way it happened.
Public criticism doesn't sit well with head coaches and front offices in any sport, but especially the NFL. Cowboys Nation weren't the only ones to see Dez Bryant's reaction to being released, and it wouldn't surprise me if that has had something to do with Bryant's free agent market being dried up.
If the reports are true, that teams aren't interested in the Pro Bowl wide receiver at the league minimum is a scathing indictment of Dez Bryant's reputation around the league.
Whether it's because his play dropped off or because of the personality that Bryant brings to the table, which is part of what made him great, teams aren't seeing the benefit of bringing Bryant into their locker room at the moment.
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Now, he will sign with someone, but it's looking like teams aren't backing up dump trucks of money to Dez Bryant's front door. For whatever reason, it's looking like Dez Bryant is going to have to convince a team to sign him. No one saw that coming when Bryant was released.
For everything that Dez Bryant has brought to the table over the years, this drama will be the one that defines the twilight of his career.
Jason Garrett Can’t be Serious About Retaining Scott Linehan, Can He?
One of the few positives most of us were looking forward to after the Dallas Cowboys Divisional Round loss to the Los Angeles Rams was the fact that Scott Linehan would no longer be the offensive coordinator for America's Team. Everything was pointing to his dismissal, but that may not be the case according to Head Coach Jason Garrett.
Jason Garrett said on 105.3 The Fan that offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will return in 2019. "We don't anticipate any significant changes on our staff," Garrett said.
I can't say that I was happy upon learning Jason Garrett plans on retaining Scott Linehan as the Cowboys OC in 2019. In fact, my first thought was… Well, something better left unsaid. I'm sure many of you can kind of read my mind, because I'm pretty positive you had all that the same thoughts running through your head as well.
In all honesty, I didn't think there was a snowball chance in hell Scott Linehan would return to Dallas after the conclusion of the 2018 season. After all, the Cowboys nearly fired him during the bye week earlier this season, meaning his job security was already on thin ice. He didn't do anything to improve things in my opinion.
I know Jason Garrett has said Scott Linehan will return as the OC in 2019, but not for a second do I believe it. We are less than 72 hours hours removed from the Cowboys exit from the playoffs and I highly doubt any of Dallas' decision-makers has had the time to sit down and discuss who stays and who goes. In fact, I know they haven't.
Stephen Jones says they won't comment on anything with coaching staff but that they need to take a deep look at why they fell short. Says it a little early to speculate about players or coaches. They haven't had a meeting about it yet.
I think once the Cowboys brass sits down and reevaluates the 2018 season, they will come to the conclusion they can do better than Scott Linehan as their offensive coordinator. There were just too many times throughout the season where the playcalling was a problem just. It's just time to move on, despite the vote of confidence by Jason Garrett.
Of course, this could just be me trying to read between the lines hoping and praying Scott Linehan is finally fired. Like many of you, I've grown way too tired of his predictable and dated playcalling. It's time to move on and find someone more innovative who can maximize the talent the Dallas Cowboys have on the roster, much like Kris Richard did with the defense.
You can either choose to believe Jason Garrett or not. I for one have a hard time seeing the Dallas Cowboys staying status quo with their coaching staff, especially their offensive coordinator. But, only time will tell.
Do you think it's time for the Dallas Cowboys to fire Scott Linehan?
Cowboys Rammed Out of Playoffs but 2019 is Bright
If you were to have clicked over to Sportsbook Review, you could have seen what all the premier online sportsbooks were dealing on the Cowboys/Rams game before kickoff. Sites like Bovada, which incidentally you can read a Bovada Review at Sportsbook Review as well, had the Rams favored in every quarter, in both halves, and installed LA as seven-point favorites over Dallas. As is often the case, the number was nearly spot on as the Rams bounced our 'Boys out of the postseason 30-22. It was a heart-wrenching loss for Dallas fans everywhere but for those who put their money where their mouths were, it was particularly painful in what turned out to be a one-point difference between losing and pushing.
Let’s look on the bright side, though. The Cowboys not only copped the division crown but the draft picks from April bore fruit this season. Linebacker and No. 19 overall pick Leighton Vander Esch is a certified stud while third-round pick Michael Gallup proved he is a bona fide NFL receiver. Second-round offensive lineman Connor Williams had difficulties at left guard, but at the very least, has a season under his belt at the next level and could turn into a legitimate bodyguard for Prescott in 2019.
And let’s not forget about the trade for Amari Cooper, which turned Dallas from a squad struggling to find its identity to an NFC East champ in winning seven of its last nine games since Cooper arrived. This year’s edition also bested a tough Seahawks team in the first-round of the playoffs.
Let’s face it, folks, no one expected the Cowboys to win a Super Bowl this season and what we got was about as much as we could have hoped with the current roster as it is presently constructed.
Dak Prescott has one more year on his rookie contract and will be looking to score a big payday at the end of next season, if not sooner. The Cowboys could enter negotiations and lock Prescott up for the foreseeable future, but it might be best for both parties to see what 2019 brings and go from there. Either way, Dallas will pay beaucoup bucks to keep Prescott in a Cowboys uniform so watching and waiting will most likely be the tact management takes with their star quarterback, with a franchise tag in 2020 as an option as well.
In the team’s immediate future will be signing their second-round pick in 2014, DeMarcus Lawrence. The talented defensive end provided the Cowboys with the edge rusher they needed for parts of this season and his combined 25 sacks over the last two seasons would be nearly impossible to replace. Dallas franchised him this season but will most likely put together a long-term deal for Lawrence in the offseason.
Ezekiel Elliott has also reportedly been hinting at his own contract extension even though he is contractually committed to the Cowboys for next season with a team option in '20.
Ironically, one of the strengths of the Dallas Cowboys in recent years was a relatively weak link this season. The offensive line was decimated by injuries and Pro Bowler Travis Frederick missed the entire season. But those wounds will heal for next season and the old gang will be back together again.
The Cowboys have loads of cap space but are without a first-round pick due to the trade for Amari Cooper. Nevertheless, the young blood on the team looks poised to contribute for many years and there will be money available to woo free agents to a club now viewed as a legitimate contender.
If you want to look at next season’s odds, make sure to educate yourself on which online sportsbooks are the most reputable, trusted, and reliable. Read the Bovada Review over at SBR and see what customers are saying about one of the industry’s top sportsbooks. Then, when the lines come out on next season’s division, conference, and Super Bowl winners, you can be informed and maybe throw a few bucks on the 'Boys from Dallas!
Cowboys’ Window Depends On Maximizing, And Helping, Dak Prescott
Saturday night's Division Round loss was met with mixed reaction among Cowboys Nation.
Some fans, claiming they are the rational ones who hold the Cowboys to a higher standard, believe this might end up being their best chance at a Super Bowl for some time. The young players this roster is built around will only get older and more expensive as the years go by, and 2018 ends with yet another Jason Garrett-led playoff loss.
Other fans, claiming they are the rational ones, said that Dallas accomplished a lot this season, climbing back from a 3-5 start to win the NFC East and a home playoff game before losing a competitive game to one of the league's best. This group believes that the Cowboys championship window is as open as it has been in years, with young talent galore on Dallas' roster.
Whether this is true, however, hinges on the shoulders of two individuals. One of which, ironically, hasn't even been named yet and the other a source of constant debate among those same segmented fans.
Those people, of course, are quarterback Dak Prescott and whoever ends up as the offensive coordinator in 2019.
Dak Prescott is a good quarterback.
Let's start there. I firmly believe that Dak Prescott did enough during his third season to earn the contract extension he will likely receive from the Cowboys within one of the next two offseasons. Especially once the Cowboys acquired wide receiver Amari Cooper.
Clearly, Prescott is far from "perfect" is a passer. He makes mistakes in decision making, he sails some throws, and he sometimes exhibits inconsistent footwork when the pocket breaks down. But we focus too much on his mistakes while simply glossing over his accomplishments, talents, and upside.
Not only is Dak Prescott someone that the team responds to and believes in, but he is also a good football player. Prescott finished the 2018 season 12th in total Expected Points Added, ahead of quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, and Baker Mayfield. He's also finished 3rd and 4th in raw QBR during his first two seasons in the NFL respectively. And, despite his slow start to 2018, Dak Prescott ended his third season on the best run of games in terms of QBR he has ever had.
Prescott is improving, and this is evident each week. He played more comfortably in the pocket over the last 6 games of the season, panicking less, taking fewer dumb sacks, and abandoning his technique fewer and fewer. And, while he doesn't run as often as many would like, the times Prescott does carry the ball often change drives and games.
And while I despise "QB Wins" as a determining statistic, the fact remains that bad quarterbacks don't win at the rate Dak Prescott does. Three straight winning seasons has been rare in Dallas over the last 15 years, and Prescott orchestrated this his first three seasons as a starter.
Passing Wins Championships.
Though very different than the old cliche, this appears more accurate by the season. The final four teams remaining in the NFL are each top 5 in passing DVOA, while not a single one has a top 10 defense by DVOA.
Neither the Chiefs nor the Rams have had a good run defense at all this season, but stopping the run doesn't matter as much as stopping the pass most weeks in today's NFL. I know this sounds absurd after the Cowboys run defense got abused by Los Angeles, but the numbers often bear this out.
The Cowboys have to do everything in their power to aid Dak Prescott and the passing offense this offseason. They need to draft another pass catcher, preferably with their second round pick. They need to continue to improve the chemistry between Prescott, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup.
And, maybe most importantly, they need to hire an offensive coordinator who can maximize this passing game.
Scott Linehan simply is not the answer. And if the Cowboys are going to make the most out of whatever title window they may have, the offensive play caller will be the most critical man in the building going forward.
Unfortunately, latest reports point to Linehan returning in 2019.
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