3 Reasons Cowboys Dez Bryant May Not Return In 2015

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Oct 27, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) makes a catch in the end zone for a touchdown while being defended by Detroit Lions strong safety Glover Quin (27) and cornerback Darius Slay (30) during the second quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Conventional wisdom states Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant is a lock to stay in Dallas. The Pro Bowler is in the final year of his rookie contract in 2014, and ESPNDallas beat writer Todd Archer astutely points out that no one can recall a time when GM Jerry Jones let a homegrown star like Bryant walk.

But the team’s organizational philosophy has shown signs of evolving this offseason. Archer summed up some of the changes in a recent post responding to Twitter questions:

There has been a method to the Cowboys’ spending this offseason with the future in mind. They could have restructured the contracts of DeMarcus WareBrandon Carr and Jason Witten to create a ton of room (and keep Ware) but they chose not to. They could have signed anybody they wanted to and decided not to because of the structure of the deals that would have been required. They want to save some of their salary-cap space for Tyron Smith and Dez Bryant

I agree with Archer and have made similar points in past weeks here and here, but I’m not convinced Bryant will be re-signed. In years past, absolutely. But this year feels different. Cutting Ware, letting defensive tackle Jason Hatcher walk, and refusing to restructure several veteran contracts were clear choices. I argued here those choices represent a gradual philosophical shift fueled largely by Jerry’s son Stephen Jones, the team’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, and head coach Jason Garrett.

Dez Bryant marks another choice for the Dallas brass. Bryant’s prowess is a feather in the cap for both the Dallas GM, who took the risk to invest a premium draft pick in him, and the Dallas head coach, who helped develop him into an impact player. But the cost to extend Bryant is sure to be high, and it may be more than the front office wants to invest in the wide receiver position. Here are three reasons why Dez Bryant may not return to the Cowboys in 2015.

Next up: Perennial contenders tend to pay either a quarterback or a star receiver, but rarely both.

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