What’s going to happen with Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys is a subject that has both gone flown somewhat under the radar and refused to leave the limelight.
Is Dez Bryant going to be on the Cowboys this season? Are they going to release him? It’s April 5th, and we still don’t know 100% one way or another. That’s not ideal.
This really started, at least publicly, earlier this offseason with word from The Star painting Dez Bryant in a negative light. The first instance was when Stephen Jones called Dez the dreaded d-word, a distraction. From January:
“The other thing that we all see and it is certainly visible to anyone who watches our games, watches our sideline, is Dez is certainly a fiery guy who plays with a lot of emotion both on and off the field. Sometimes that can be a distraction. It can be a distraction for Dez, it can be a distraction for other teammates. And we just have to really get our hands around when you put all the full body of work together where that’s headed.”
Of course, Stephen Jones has walked this back a bit. He’s talked numerous times about how the Cowboys will have a meeting with Dez at some point this offseason (one they’re fine waiting until after the draft for... hmm wonder why), and that Jerry Jones will be leading it.
The latest bit of offseason mumbling comes to us this glorious Masters Thursday (hello friends!) via the MMQB’s Albert Breer. There’s one Cowboys staffer who is apparently, well, unimpressed with the current version of Dez Bryant.
“Based on last year,” one staffer says, “he does very few things really well.” So now, the challenge is on Bryant to do what Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald and, at a different position, his own teammate, Jason Witten, have pulled off: combat Father Time with the kind of hard work that generates a second NFL life. The Cowboys’ failure to land Sammy Watkins probably saved Bryant’s place on the roster, and it’s not crazy to think it could still be in jeopardy. That much is up to [Jerry] Jones and, to some extent, [Jason] Garrett. They’ve both believed in Bryant when others didn’t. It seems like it’s time for him to repay that faith.
Dez has indeed seemingly been spared by the Cowboys’ inability to land Sammy Watkins, but also by the current market for wide receivers in the NFL. When you look at [insert a recent signee] is making, it’s hard to completely scoff at Dez’s $16.5M cap hit.
We don’t know what’s going to happen with Dez, but we do know one important thing. To reiterate, today is April 5th. The NFL draft is in three weeks. In spite of that, there is division among the Cowboys staffers about the status of their number one wide receiver. That’s not good.
It’s not good because there is apparent division among the Cowboys when it comes to a matter of importance such as who their top weapon for Dak Prescott is (that’s kind of a big deal). Breer notes that Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett are champions of sorts for Dez, but he also notes that others on the staff are less enthusiastic.
The truth is: This is where things have been going for a while. Cowboys coaches started seeing Bryant’s overwhelming physical gifts start to slip all the way back in 2015, the injury-plagued first season of his five-year, $70 million second contract.
There are many, scores of people, that would venture to guess offensive coordinator Scott Linehan is not wearing a Dez Bryant jersey around town. The Cowboys have given Linehan an inordinate amount of power and responsibility this offseason, and Dez did publicly call out the offense that Scott runs as being predictable in 2017. This doesn’t mean Scott is the unnamed staffer in the fist quote above, but it is data worth considering when looking for one.
Whoever is talking about Dez Bryant, the fact that someone is talking corroborates the idea that the Cowboys are waiting to see what they land in three weeks before making a decision on his future. It would just be nice if, you know, they wouldn’t talk about it publicly. That’s all.