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Why There Isn’t a Market for Dez Bryant

John Williams

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Dez Bryant

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.

ProFootballTalk on Twitter

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.

Pat Doney on Twitter

@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

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.

This via Mike Fisher at 247sports.com and 105.3 The Fan.

“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."

Tony Romo via Todd Archer of ESPN.com

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.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

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.



Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

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3 Comments
  • Chuck Wright

    Dez always has been his own worst enemy. Clearly I was never a fan, I thought his contract (top 3 WR money at the time) was unwarranted. He proved me right coming into camp out of shape leading to injuries which took their toll.

    Good riddance. And I love the new crop of pass catchers.

  • EverybodyTalks

    Good article. I just wish our guys would wear that uniform combination, posted at the top of your article, more often.
    Dez has not done himself any favors.
    The Evil FO should have let him go and should be scrouged for waiting, but if he was in demand, he would be gone.
    Someone will scoop him up, but the Raven’s offer was a decent deal.

  • Russ_Te

    Now the Cowboys can sign him back at low cap… ;^)

    Dez will be on a team this fall. He can still produce as a possession / RAC receiver if he has a fast lead WR opposite him to pin the safeties back in 2-deep.

    Having cut Butler loose and traded Switzer, the Cowboys are not worried about the unit’s speed. Teams will rotate coverages down on Beasley this year again, and Gallup and Hurns will have the same challenges Dez had against choked up DB’s. They might beat those better, we’ll see.

    If Gathers turns into a Gronk-type of TE – nobody can cover him and Dak keeps feeding him – that will help the WR’s get attention off them.

Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Can we Believe General Manager Jerry Jones?

Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.

Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.

Cambios de Coach

A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.

A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.

Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?

El Draft

A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.

A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.

En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.

Decisiones difíciles

La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.

Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.

Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.

No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Star Blog

Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.

Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.

Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.

Here's why those people are wrong.

Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.

Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).

Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.

There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.

Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.

Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.

Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.

Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.

And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.



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Star Blog

Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?

Brian Martin

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Can Dak Prescott Regain His Mojo Against Atlanta?
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.

It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.

Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.

Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.

Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.

Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:

24 starts
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating

Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:

17 starts
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating

As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.

Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

Now, he just has to go out and prove it!

Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?



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