Dez Bryant has become all that the Cowboys hoped he would become when they made him a somewhat controversial first round pick in the 2010 draft (24th overall). He and Tony Romo have developed a chemistry that continues to produce results. He is on a pace this season barring injury to deliver another 90+ catch season, 1350 yards receiving, and 19 touchdowns. Yet, he is still working off of his rookie contract that has him making under $3MM this season. That makes him the 41st highest paid receiver in the league behind the likes of Miles Austin, Santana Moss, and Eddie Royal to name just a few. Bryant will be a free agent come the 2015 season so the Cowboys’ front office is likely going to start working on an extension for Dez before he hits the market.
But, is that really in Dez’s best interest? Dez is happy in Dallas and likes his QB and the offensive system where he is featured. Jerry Jones has also shown a penchant for big contracts that completely overvalue a player’s potential. That certainly works in Dez’s favor. The team obviously wants to lock him up for a longer term.
But, here is food for thought. What happens to Dez’s career once Romo is finally done? The Cowboys have done nothing to date to try and groom the eventual replacement for Tony Romo. Like him or not, there is no arguing he and Dez work well together. Ask Larry Fitzgerald how fun the game is when you are the best receiver on the field most games with no one that can get him the ball. I don’t think Dez will be that patient. Before I signed a long-term, 5 0r 6-year extension with this team, I would want to have a better idea of what Romo’s plans were and what the team’s plans were to develop their next QB. Alex Tanney is capable enough but he is not the answer. The Cowboys are going to have to make a commitment to a higher round QB in next year’s draft (3rd or 4th round) - at first to replace Orton as Romo’s backup but ultimately to take over the starting role.
Without that commitment to the future, I’m not sure Dez will want to re-sign with the Cowboys. He will make a LOT of money on the free agent market it he continues to play the way he is now. And, you know Dez wants to make money – but I think he also wants to leave his mark on the record book. He and his agent are going to have to weigh the situations that are potentially out there – will he have a better career with someone like Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, or Andrew Luck getting him the ball to name just a few possibilities?
Of course, it is all speculation at this point. It would be a shame to see Dez go elsewhere but it is not a given that he decides to stay. Let’s hope he does and the Cowboys have someone that can get him the ball! Throw up the X! Go Cowboys!