The Dez Bryant Dilemma: Will The Cowboys Draw A Line In The Sand?


The time has come. It has been looming since the Dallas Cowboys realized that their evaluation of wide receiver Dez Bryant was actually off target.

Not in the way that they feared the most, which is that he was an overrated flash in the pan athlete. No, their evaluation was underrated. Dez Bryant is a freak of an athlete and possesses skills that are rare.

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Since Bryant first strapped on a Cowboys helmet after being drafted at the bottom of the first round, he has proven to be the spiritual heart of the team. He inspires in practice, in the dressing room, in the halls of Valley Ranch and most importantly on the field.

He has brought a will to win the team hasn’t seen since his number 88 like sake retired. Bryant elevates his team in many ways. From his stubborn refusal to go down easy after a catch to his incredible willingness to be a blocker in the running game.

But the time has come for the Cowboys to face the reality of taking a chance on a troubled player. He proved to be hard to control but not impossible. Playing under a rookie deal and needing the owner to believe in him, the Cowboys have had leverage on Bryant.

The rookie contract fulfilled, Bryant is standing at the cashiers window. Unfortunately for him, the Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is not the teller he expected. Instead, it is a new clerk with just a portion of the loot.

Sorry Mr. Bryant. Mr. Jones is not available.

Any hardcore Cowboys fan knew all of these years there might be a standoff in the making. With every touchdown or spectacular catch, in the back of our minds we had the thought. What will happen when Dez has to be signed.

With every news story, with every twitter rumor, with every TMZ splash. It has been looming.

Conventional NFL economics wisdom says the wide receiver market needs to be set. With Denver Bronco wide out Demaryius Thomas in the same position and close to the same talent level as Bryant, no one really has a great handle on what these two gifted receivers are worth. Dallas can hide behind the great excuse that they don’t want to blink first.

That is certainly believable. Except for the fact that the Cowboys and Bryant were by many reports were very, very close to a deal with him last summer. One would assume they were close on a number.

Another reasonable assumption is that the guaranteed money is the issue. That holds water except for the fact that there is an easy parameter for the two sides to start at.

Add two franchise tag year dollars together and you have an easy starting point. This has been used for many players in Bryant’s talent range.  In this case, that would be about $30 million.

Didn’t Bryant change agents, and by doing so, made getting a deal done much more complicated? Another safe argument. But Tom Condon, the super agent, is a wily and respected veteran that has no history of having trouble dealing with such issues. Conventional wisdom says Condon is most likely not the problem.

If you have followed Bryant’s career with the Cowboys and their relationship, you could easily come to a different reason we have reached the middle of June 2015 without a deal.

If you are Jerry Jones, do you feel okay with giving Dez the keys to the vault? One can only guess but it makes you really wonder what the team may know something about Bryant that we don’t.

It is no secret, based on numerous reports over the last twelve months, that the Cowboys have desired protections in the contract that Bryant doesn’t like. Of course, the team would never admit that publicly.

I love watching Dez play football. He is as exciting and entertaining as it gets. The story of his rough childhood is well documented. This makes it even easier to root for him.

The passion he brings is unquestioned. The concern he brings is also unquestioned, in my mind.

Dallas has been on a road to being a more conservative franchise financially the last four years. The evidence is clear and has been written about extensively this offseason. It has become evident Jones has finally learned some hard salary cap lessons.

The Cowboys have seen this coming on the horizon and I believe they are determined to protect the franchise against a disastrous contract.

Maybe it is one of the many reasons repeated loudly and quietly by the team. The receiver market, guaranteed dollars, etc.

Personally, I don’t buy it. Is Dez dying to be on the field with his team? I would bet my house that he is. Is he going to try anything he can to force things to move faster? We have already seen that this past week. Expect more in the next four weeks.

Will the Cowboys hold their breath and begrudgingly send Mr. Jones to the cash window for Dez? I don’t think they will. I see the team holding their position and drawing a line in the sand. They will get the protections against off-the-field discretions they want or Bryant will play for franchise tag dollars.

The price of bad publicity and fan scrutiny is one they will be willing to pay, in my opinion. They knew it was coming.

Next: Can Terrance Williams Replace Dez Bryant In Dallas?