After having an under performing year, this off-season for the Dallas Cowboys is going to be a lot of work. And it’s going to start with wide receiver, Dez Bryant. Bryant, who caught 69 passes for 838 yards and six touchdowns in 2017, is under contract for two more seasons but with a salary cap number of $16.5 million for 2018, the Cowboys will need to make some adjustments.
However, it was a different scenario for head coach Jason Garrett who was asked about Bryant at the annual NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Garrett, whose been mostly complimentary of Bryant didn’t commit to Dez’s future in Dallas going forward.
“We’ll pull back and we’ll look at all of that,” Garrett said Wednesday. “Obviously, he has been in and out of the lineup with some injuries at different times. I think you do have to be careful about evaluating production from year to year because the makeup of your team, the makeup of your offense, your approach on offense can change. And sometimes a guy might catch 20 fewer balls in a year, but he might be more productive with the opportunities that he’s gotten because you ran the ball more, because maybe you had other players on your offense that the ball went to and you’re a better offense overall because of that. Certainly you want to get opportunities for a guy like Dez Bryant. He’s cashed in on them throughout his career for us.
“I personally have a lot of love for him as a player and more so as a person. The growth and development that he’s made over the course of his career with us has been exponential and has made a huge impact on our team.”
This off-season will be an interesting one as Cowboys receiver Brice Butler has already went on record saying that, “If I’m not starting, I’m not going back.” And with Dallas giving Terrance Williams a four-year-deal last season, the likelihood of Butler starting if Dallas does keep Bryant isn’t good for Butler.
It’s clear that Bryant has lost a step, but by all means he’s far from done. If the Cowboys want to make this work then they have to move Bryant to the slot just like the Arizona Cardinals did with Larry Fitzgerald a few years back.