As it stands today you’re likely excited about the prospects of a Dallas Cowboys secondary featuring Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis playing cornerback.
What’s funny is neither of these two was even on the team a year ago. The Cowboys bet big on young players in the secondary, after watching four veterans leave in free agency, and it worked out well for them.
Of course, the then-veteran of the group Orlando Scandrick was kind of the wrench in those “let’s get younger” plans, was he not? Dallas reportedly shopped him around at the draft, denied it after the fact, but it hasn’t even been a year and Scandrick is now part of the Washington Redskins.
They’re not identical situations by any means, but is anybody else kind of feeling like the Cowboys are trying to do this year at receiver what they did with the secondary? And if this was the case, is Dez Bryant not the Orlando Scandrick of the analogy?
No one, let me repeat, no one is saying that what Dez and Orlando have done throughout their Cowboys careers is at all equal. While you’ve likely moved on now that Scandrick plays for a division rival, the point stands that he’s one of the more-tenured Cowboys in the post-triplets era. He played a decade for the club before getting his release and having an opportunity to find another job. He really had to push for his release at the end as the Cowboys were slow to do it.
It’s the business of the NFL, no one is denying that, but there is certainly a case to be made that the Cowboys could have been nicer to Orlando on the way out (I’m not going to make it, don’t worry). Dallas looked after their own interest, and no one is blaming them for that.
Is that not what they’re doing with Dez, though? While many thought the matter of him taking a pay cut or being released altogether would be resolved by this point, here we stand, still in a purgatory of sorts. In fact the Cowboys are totally fine to keep waiting. From the mothership:
When asked again, Jones got serious, but didn’t change his tune from what he has said all offseason.
“We’re going to sit down and we have a lot to talk about. I don’t want to say or not say anything to imply that Dez won’t be a Dallas Cowboy.”
Stephen Jones made it clear that Jerry will be the one to visit with Dez about his future, which could mean either a pay cut or restructuring of his contract. Stephen also said there’s no deadline that a move has to be made before the NFL Draft, which takes place in less than a month. And before that, the Cowboys will begin their offseason workout programs on April 16.
Why would there not be a deadline that a move had to be made before the draft? Would it not stand to legitimate logical reason that the Cowboys would like to know whether or not they’re going to have a talented wide receiver (the level of talent can obviously be debated) on their team for the 2018 season by the draft?
Of course it would, which means it’s fair to assume the Cowboys already have a plan. They’ve likely anticipated what’s going to happen when “the Dez talk” finally does happen, but if they’re not necessarily planning on it happening before the draft... well what would that mean?
Do the math. The Cowboys just signed Allen Hurns to a two-year deal, and he’s really the only receiver anybody feels 100% solid in saying is going to be on the team this season. If the Cowboys aren’t pressed to talk to Dez before the draft, it would suggest they’d like to use the draft to obtain even more leverage against Dez. Leverage like, oh I don’t know, a top-tier receiver.
On the surface it looks like the Cowboys are fine going to the prom with Dez, but they don’t want to lock themselves into a date just quite yet. Someone better can come along, a better dancer maybe (nobody dances at prom by the way, young-ins), and Dallas wants to technically be available if/when that does happen.
In such an event, the Cowboys would look back at Dez, point to their new date, and ship their all-time leader in receiving touchdowns to the friend zone immediately (in this analogy that’s akin to being released). Dez is the Cowboys backup plan, which is why they don’t feel any rush to have their talk before the draft even though it makes zero sense to wait.
It sounds like an unfortunate way for a player of Dez Bryant’s caliber to be treated, but in the end it really is all a business. If this entire hypothetical really is the case, there are many fans who will be proud. This is the Cowboys looking at things through a completely unbiased and unemotional lens, operating solely in what is in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys.
Still though, it would sting. And if you think it’s not possible, just remember that it happened to Orlando Scandrick. While, again, he isn’t and never has been Dez Bryant... he did wear the star for a decade. That means something.