Dez Bryant amassed 93 receptions for 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2013. There was a time in the NFL when 1,000 receiving yards in a season was a great achievement. There was much more emphasis on ground and pound smash mouth football back then. Now days it’s expected.
In the modern NFL, Dez Bryant’s 1,233 yards was good enough for 13th in the NFL last season. However, he was tied for 3rd in touchdowns with the 49ers’ Vernon Davis. The Saints’ Jimmy Graham (with 16) and the Broncos’ Demaryius Thomas (with 14) were first and second respectively. Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall and Julius Thomas all came in tied for 4th with 12. Josh Gordan, who led the entire NFL with 1,646 receiving yards, came in at 11th with 9.
The mind bogglingÂ part is, The Denver Broncos had 3 receivers in the top 10, (once you include Eric Decker) who amassed 11 touchdowns to go along with his 1,288 receiving yards. What do all of these numbers have to do with Dez Bryant you ask? One of the most talked about subjects among Cowboys Nation is a new deal for Dez Bryant. There will be more than 50 free agent receivers in 2015. I compiled a list below of the notables. (The list is in no significant order).
- Wes Welker
(Where would you place Dez Bryant on this list?) I have him as number one.
The Million dollar question (literally) is, how much is he worth? Basically, whatever the highest bidder wants to pay him. The more important question is: how much is he worth to the Cowboys? The next important question is: how much will the Cowboys’ salary cap situation allow them to pay him? (Keep in mind, Tyron Smith needs a new deal as well).
“There are six receivers in the NFL earning more than $11 million per season. Does Dez Bryant join that list with Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Percy Harvin, Mike Wallace, Dwayne Bowe and Vincent Jackson? Do we need to point out the new deal DeSean Jackson signed with the Washington Redskins is worth $8 million annually?”
Personally, I think Jerry Jones needs to be smart about this despite the rank I place on Dez Bryant. The Cowboys are already cap strapped and Tom Brady, among other notable quarterbacks, has proven you don’t need big name high dollar receivers to win in the NFL as long as you have a decent offensive line that gives the QB time to make good reads and opens up running lanes, which in turn sets up the pass. Lets be honest here, Michael Irvin didn’t get anywhere near as many targets as Dez Bryant, but because they had a solid running game and a stout offensive line, it set him up for the big plays.
The Patriots let Wes Welker walk rather than give him the big pay day, and still went deep in to the playoffs. NE understands that when you have too many high paid players you have to go short at too many other positions to afford them. This is why they are relevant every year, have 13 consecutive winning seasons and the Cowboys have been 8-8.
The Cowboys are still lacking severely on defense. Tyron Smith is an integral part of the Cowboys offensive line and needs a new deal. After all, history has taught us that receivers are a dime a dozen, but Pro Bowl offensive linemen are few and far between. In fact, there have been many receivers who entered the league as undrafted free agents and became all pro players.
It is also a proven fact that if a quarterback has time in the pocket, any NFL starting receiver can be dangerous. If it comes down to the Cowboys having to sacrifice two or three other positions in order to afford Dez Bryant,Â (especially considering his back issues) I say use the franchise tag on him in 2015 and let him prove he is worth that big contract. There have been too many players in the recent history of the Dallas Cowboys that had a great contract year and then fell off the minute they got paid.
What worries me the most, is the fact that Jerry Jones is more worried about selling jerseys than he is about winning. That being said, Dez Bryant sells a lot of jerseys. I have never known Jerry Jones not to over pay if he wanted to keep the player. How much do you think Dez Bryant is worth per year to an already cap strapped team? $3-5 Million per year, $5-7 million per year, $7-10 million per year, or over $10 million per year? My thought is anymore than $5-7 million per year and the Cowboys will have to go light elsewhere. My guess is it will be the same place they have been taking short cuts for years, and that’s the defensive line. I don’t care how many weapons you have on offense, if your defense can’t get to the QB or stop anyone, it’s useless.