In order for the Dallas Cowboys offense to reach its full potential, they need wide receiver Dez Bryant to return to dominance.
The early indications in his first two seasons were that Bryant was well on his way to becoming an elite level receiver, accumulating 15 touchdowns over that span.
The next three seasons are when Bryant would put the entire league on notice that he had indeed arrived.
- 2012: 92 receptions, 1,382 yards, 12 touchdowns
- 2013: 93 receptions, 1,233 yards, 13 touchdowns
- 2014: 88 receptions, 1,320 yards, 16 touchdowns
However, since 2014, it has been a different story. In the two years that have passed since, Bryant has not accumulated more than 50 receptions in a season (31 receptions in 2015 and 50 receptions in 2016). And his receiving yards have also been down (401yards in 2015 and 796 yards in 2016).
Excluding his spectacular seasons in ’12, ’13, and ’14, Bryant has never had more than 63 receptions in a single year. He has also failed to reach double digit touchdowns or reach 1,000 receiving yards outside of the above-mentioned seasons. Health has also played a big part in Bryant’s career where he has only played a full 16 game season three years in his career. Not surprisingly those seasons were ’12, ’13, and’14.
Bryant has all the skills necessary to be an elite receiver. He has great size and speed and plays the game with tremendous physicality. With all that being said, we find ourselves asking the same question way too often throughout the season: “Where is Dez?” How come a receiver with Dez’s size and skill set struggles to get involved in the offense more often than not?
According to Overthecap.com, Bryant’s base salary this year is $13 million with another $4 million in prorated bonus money bringing his total cap number to $17 million. That kind of money demands performance on a consistent basis and so far this season, Bryant has not delivered to that standard. He has yet to surpass 100 receiving yards in a game this season despite being heavily targeted throughout the year.
The Cowboys need Bryant to become the receiver he was in that impressive three year span from ’12-’14. While having complimentary options like wide receiver Cole Beasley and tight end Jason Witten in the passing game are nice, the offense is missing the explosiveness which Bryant possesses but does not always put on display.
In order for the Dallas Cowboys’ offense to reach its full potential and compete come January, Dez Bryant needs to return to being a consistent playmaker week in and week out.