Cleat Geeks

Dez Is Done In Dallas

After a very short meeting between wide receiver Dez Bryant and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, the decision has been made. The Cowboys have released Dez Bryant.

Did Dallas Make The Right Decision?

The 29-year-old is due $12.5 million with a $16.5 million cap hit in 2018. Of the eight wide receivers set to earn more than $12 million in 2018, Bryant was the only one to have averaged less than 1,000 receiving yards per season. But, it is not like he barley missed 1,000 yards, he only gained 838. Bryant has not conquered the 1,000 yard mark since 2014. Therefore, if his yardage was down, he was at least clutch in the end zone right? Wrong, he played 16 games last season and only scored 6 touchdowns. In fact, in the last 3 seasons he has played in 38 games and has caught 21 touchdowns. Well then he was able to stretch the field for the Cowboys, right? Wrong again, he longest catch of last season was for 50 yards. The year before that was 56 yards and the year before that 51 yards. In fact, in the 2017 season Bryant averaged just over 52 yards a game. Not only that, but Dez did not go over 100 yards in any game last season in terms of total yards. Now for what may be the most jaw-droping stat of them all, Dez was also tied for third in droped passes last season. So combined with a lack of production in both yards and touchdowns, plus the fact that he was also having trouble holding onto the ball, he made the decision to release him much easier for the Cowboys.

Image result for dez bryant

Photo by; Niners Noise

Bryant signed a five-year, $70 million contract extension with the Cowboys before the 2015 season. He was set to count $16.5 million against the cap in 2018. The Cowboys absorb just $4 million in dead money from the move. And it now creates $8.5 million in cap space for them moving forward.

Jerry Jones may have said it best himself. “Of course we pay Dez a lot of money, and he knows that. He’s as aware of it as anybody. He knows when you get paid that kind of money there’s high expectations in terms of the productivity. … Those are all things we have to look at as a team, as an organization when we start to put our team together for next year.”

So, they have decided to build their team next year without him.

But Who Replaces Him?

Image result for james washington wr oklahoma state

Photo by; Steel City Blitz

It seems a little awkward to talk about replacing 838 yards and 6 touchdowns until you look at the rest of the Cowboys receivers. They have three receivers on their current roster from last season; Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, and Ryan Switzer. Those three players combined had just 85 more yards than Bryant did last season. They did sign Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson in free agency this off-season but none of those players are going to scare opposing teams. You are just asking every team they play to load up the box and stop the run.

You have to remember that Dallas only has about $20 million in cap space to work with this off-season. Dallas is down a draft pick this year after sending their 2018 fifth-round selection to the Jets to move up and take Xavier Woods in the sixth round of the 2017 draft. Dallas also has to think about life after 35-year-old Jason Witten. Plus, the Cowboys still have pressing needs at linebacker and the interior defensive line, but cutting ties with Bryant makes receiver possibly their most urgent need. Oklahoma State’s James Washington, who met with the Cowboys in January, is projected as a second rounder and could be a solid target for Dallas in the draft. But, now the question is can they afford to wait til the second round to address this need?

Where Will Dez End Up?

This question is hard to answer because we don’t know what Dez wants. If he simply wants money, then he will go to a team like Cleveland who can afford to pay him. But, I will assume he is not jaded enough to think he can go somewhere and once again be a #1 receiver. Therefore, I think a team who already has a #1 makes sence if you are Bryant. Three places I thought of would be opposite Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona, opposite A.J. Greene in Cincinnati or possibly opposite OBJ in New York. The NFL would have fun promoting that. And it looks like he wants to play in the same division.

In closing, this isn’t the first time Jerry Jones has moved on from a franchise cornerstone. He’s moved on from Emmitt Smith, DeMarcus Ware, Larry Allen, and Terrell Owens in the past. Now, he’ll be looking for the next in line to succeed wearing the famed Cowboys star. Since everything is bigger in Texas, I guess that includes the contracts signed by the Cowboys.

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