As the Dallas Cowboys are figuring out what to do with some of their free agent players and where they should spend their dollars when the league year opens, the biggest name for the team continues to be Dez Bryant. While we’ve broken down the scenarios in this space before, it still feels like many people are on the fence because there isn’t an in-house replacement ready.
I’m on record for keeping Dez, hopefully at a reduced salary, but if he does go, what will the Cowboys do at the position? It’s pretty simple if Bryant is no longer around, the team will need to draft a quality receiver in the first or second round of the NFL Draft. They may also dip into free agency, but no one will be of the same quality as Bryant.
However, if the current #88 does get released, the offense will be fine. The Cowboys will be fine. It may look bleak without a true number one receiver out there, but Dallas played without Dez during Dak Prescott’s rookie season and the team just kept on trucking.
In the three games the Cowboys played without Bryant in 2016, the Cowboys were 3-0 and scored over 27 points a game. Scoring that many points would have given Dallas 10 wins last year.
Prescott was also fine without having his best receiver on the field in his rookie season. Dak threw for almost 240 yards a game, had a 6-1 touchdown to interception ratio and a 116+ passer rating when Bryant wasn’t on the field in 2016.
It’s a small sample size, but the Cowboys survived without the Dez in the lineup. It forced Prescott to throw to the open receiver instead of forcing passes to Bryant, which happened from time to time last season. Without Dez, the Cowboys won’t have a true star receiver to take attention away from other players, but the offense is built on running the ball anyway. If you want to make this offense ‘Dak Friendly,’ then making sure there’s no pressure to throw the ball Bryant’s way may help.
Moving on from Dez Bryant doesn’t feel like the smartest move for the team to make, especially with no one waiting in the wings to replace him. But it’s nice to know the Cowboys can have confidence in their quarterback since they’ve seen him produce without Bryant before. Just in case you forgot.
A little perspective as a decision awaits the Dallas Cowboys.
You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi