Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant has been the topic of conversation for quite some time in the city of Dallas. Over the course of his career, which started when he was the No. 24 overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft out of Oklahoma State, he has turned into one of the game’s most revered playmakers at his position.
However injuries, inconsistent play, and his sporadic sideline rants have made him the topic of conversation for all of the wrong reasons. VP of Football Operations Stephen Jones has voiced his opinions on Dez recently as a member of the Cowboys, stating that he can be a distraction on the sidelines with his fiery and emotional antics.
The most daunting task that the Dallas Cowboys have is what to do with him moving forward. Dez Bryant, set to make $12.5 million base salary this year ($16.5 million against Dallas’ cap in ’18 due to a $4 million roster bonus), is simply not the same player that he once was. There is absolutely no fault in admitting that.
After inking a 5-year, $70 million deal in July 2015, a year after he caught 88 passes for 1,320 yards and an NFL high 16 TD’s, Dez Bryant has only caught 150 balls for 2,035 yards and 17 TD’s in 3 years combined since. 1 TD reception more than in all of 2014. He’s also missed 10 games due to injury.
His catch percentage, which usually hovers around 60-65%, has taken a nose dive and dropped to a lackluster, dead even 50% on 300 targets. Not something you want to see out of a player who is due to be the 2nd highest paid WR in the league.
After posting three consecutive seasons with 1,200+ yards and double digit TD catches, he has not had one 1,000 yard or double digit TD season since. Last year was his best year since inking the big contract (69 rec., 838 yds., 6 TD’s).
The ability to stretch the field consistently is seemingly gone from Dez Bryant’s game. Teams no longer feel the need to double team him on the outside anymore. He’s also had problems with drops and fumbles.
The connection between him and Dak Prescott has been a huge problem as well. In both seasons with the former Mississippi State alum as the starter, he has failed to even crack 900 yards (796 & 838, respectively) despite only missing 3 games. He also was targeted 228 times, by far the most on the team.
The best example of that came during a home game against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16 on Christmas Eve.
The pragmatic wide receiver became frustrated with his young quarterback after not being targeted enough. Dez Bryant then followed it up with two consecutive errors, a lost fumble and an inexcusable dropped pass that immediately was intercepted by linebacker K. J. Wright.
Prescott wasn’t too thrilled himself, either with Bryant’s play. He offered some very constructive criticism of the fiery WR shortly after the game.
“I think I have to throw him a better ball,” Prescott said, nonchalantly. He then added, “Just put it right there on his face mask and don’t give him a chance to drop it, I guess.” Oooh. I kinda felt THAT one. Not good at all.
When the star receiver was asked earlier that month of whether or not he would take a pay cut to remain with the Cowboys, he responded with an emphatic “Hell nah” and proceeded to add on that he believed in himself.
With Dez Bryant being only 29 years of age, he appears to still have a decent amount of solid play left in the tank. The three time Pro Bowler still has two years remaining on his contract and both Jerry and Stephen Jones have said that they expect him back and ready to go next season.
However, crazy things have happened and it would not surprise me in the least if they move on from this chapter in Dallas Cowboys history. We’ll keep you updated on this one.