The Dallas Cowboys are in the midst of some pretty tough negotiations this offseason. Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, and Rolando McClain are just a few of the players who are facing free agency this March. Of all the pending free agents, Dez Bryant will prove to be the most costly for the Dallas Cowboys. But when considering The Dez Bryant Effect, he’s totally worth it…
Dez Bryant has established himself as a clear top-5 WR in the NFL. His physical ability is unlike anyone else in the league. His in-air ball skills, speed, agility, and tackle-breaking ability make him one of the most unique WRs of our era. Teams fear Dez more than anyone else on the Dallas Cowboys and they game-plan accordingly.
What is The Dez Bryant Effect?
Something to keep in mind is whether Dez is making plays, or just drawing coverage, he’s earning his money and making the team better. Harken back to the days of Randy Moss and you’ll remember something called the Randy Moss Effect. Moss would always command double coverage whether he took a play off or not. At times, he didn’t even step off the line of scrimmage and he still positively impacted his team. Dez does the same for the Dallas Cowboys.
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If teams decide to single cover Dez, 9 of 10 times he’s going to make the play. If teams decide to double or triple Dez, it opens up opportunities everywhere else. The Dez Bryant Effect will provide single coverage for Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, and/or Jason Witten almost every play. It will pull a safety back and provide better opportunities for the running game as well.
If the Dallas Cowboys decide to pay Dez Bryant what he’s asking for (top-2 WR money), they will be able to cut corners at the other receiver spots. They don’t need a seasoned #2 WR, when considering all the beneficial matchups WR2 receives just lining up with Dez. The same holds true for the slot receiver and TE. The Cowboys can cycle in low-cost players at these positions and still come out on top as long as Dez is on the field.
"The Dez Bryant Effect would allow the Cowboys to actually SAVE MONEY if they stick to the formula: Spending big on Dez and going cheap at all other receiving spots. That way Total WR Unit Costs don’t dominate the payroll."
Doing this would entail more difficult decisions down the road: When Terrance Williams becomes a free agent, the Cowboys could offer him a low-cost contract but can’t pay him traditional #2 WR money. If he demands it, they need to be ready to move on to either a journeyman or a rookie. At TE the Cowboys can’t break bank and dole out another Jason Witten-sized contract.
Dec 21, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys receivers Cole Beasley (11) Dez Bryant (88) and Terrance Williams (83) pose for a phot in the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The Dez Bryant Effect allows the Cowboys to thrive as long as they remain smart and savvy elsewhere. This strategy works perfectly as long as Bryant is on the field but if Bryant were ever to miss significant time, it would place the Cowboys’ offense in a pretty big jam. If Dez was injured, the “role player receivers” would then have to face honest defenses without Dez disproportionately sucking over coverage.
The Cowboys can play hardball but they can’t afford to lose a player of Dez Bryant’s ability. He helps the team in many ways we take for granted, and will continue to do so for the next 5-7 years. Re-signing Dez doesn’t have to be costly, as long as the Cowboys are willing to adjust accordingly.