Dallas Cowboys: Is Dez Bryant even tradeable?

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 22: Dez Bryant /

Dez Bryant has been a shell of his former self these days prompting many around Cowboys Nation to demand he be traded. But is he even tradeable?

Dez Bryant’s best season happened in 2014 when he caught 88 balls for 1,320 yards and 16 touchdowns. That career season not-so-surprisingly occurred in a free agent year. It looked like a sign of things to come and prompted the Dallas Cowboys to set the market price for elite receivers.

But after cashing in on that five-year $70 million contract, Dez has failed to even approach a 1,000 yards in any of the following three seasons. Now at age 29, that 2014 season appears to be Dez’s career pinnacle and the his new contract looks like a waste of money.

Dez’s $16.5 million cap hit next season has led many to believe his days are numbered in Dallas. And speculation of trade has run rampant in Cowboys Nation. The question now at hand is if Dez Bryant is even tradeable.

What’s Dez worth?

There’s no question that Dez Bryant can be downright dominant in certain aspects of the game. It’s hard to argue that anyone has been better at the goal line than #88. Whether it’s a jump ball, a fade, a slant, or a back shoulder catch, the goal line (and really the entire redzone) is where he’s at his best.

Beyond that we see a divided nation as to how good he is. Some think his lack of speed has finally caught up with him. They say he’s no longer creating the separation he once did. While I’d agree he doesn’t create much separation in his routes, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out he never created much separation. Additionally, the separation he does create is on par with the rest of the NFL. Including some of the NFL’s best:

  1. Antonio Brown       2.6
  2. DeAndre Hopkins   2.1
  3. Julio Jones                 2.4
  4. Keenan Allen            2.7
  5. Adam Thielen           2.6

According to NFL.com’s next gen stats, Dez Bryant averages 2.4 yards in separation this year which is on par with the top five receivers in the NFL this season listed above. This proves his abilities haven’t diminished so much that he can’t reclaim some of his former greatness.

While there’s no excuse for all the drops he suffered this season, they seem to be more of an anomaly than a declining trend. His temper tantrums are also inexcusable but one would think they would end quickly if he was matched with a veteran (alpha) quarterback and/or intolerant head coach.

Does anyone think he’d even consider acting like this if he was with the New England Patriots?

It’s safe to say there are a ton of NFL teams that think they can make Dez Bryant great again. But it’s also safe to say they wouldn’t pay him what he’s scheduled to make next season. Dez Bryant is still a good receiver but he’s not elite, therefore paying him like an elite receiver would be foolish. Especially since the NFL is absolutely flooded with wide receiver talent these days.

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How much money?

This is the $16 million dollar question. As mentioned above, Dez is due about $13 million and he’ll count $16.5 million against the cap. Since majority of the cap hit is his base salary, any team trading for him would have to absorb that cost.

The Cowboys would only have to eat his bonus which would be $8.5 million. To them, it’s not cost prohibitive to trade him or cut him. But to potential trade partners it’s very cost prohibitive.

If you really look at the dollars involved, it makes little sense for another team to trade for Bryant.

He’s the cost of an elite receiver without even a fraction of the production of an elite receiver. If Dallas cuts him, teams would be able to negotiate a more appropriate salary. One that better fits his three season decline.

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The Dallas Cowboys are not going to trade Dez Bryant. They will either keep him or cut him. Ideally, he will change his mind and take a pay cut, but I think we can all agree he’s not worth what the Cowboys are paying him.