Cowboys: No Dez Bryant equals big problems for Dallas

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: Dez Bryant /

The Dallas Cowboys have some decisions to make regarding the future of their high-priced receiver, Dez Bryant. But we’d all best realize that, if cut, no Dez equals big problems.

Not too long ago the Dallas Cowboys boasted one of the best, if not THE best, receiver in football. In 2014, Dez Bryant piled up 1,320 yards and 16 touchdowns on a run-heavy offense paving the way for a 5-year/$70,000,000

Such a contract set the market for top-flight receivers serving as a blueprint and benchmark to his elite colleagues. But since that contract season, Dez Bryant has failed to remotely approach those career-high numbers. In fact, Dez hasn’t even surpassed 1,000 yards in any of the three seasons since.

So after seemingly three seasons of underachievement, Dez Bryant’s status with the Dallas Cowboys is now under question. Can the Cowboys afford to pay him like a super star if he isn’t performing like one? At age 29, can he rebound and become the man he once was or is this an unstoppable slide in production?

It’s difficult to make the case that Dez Bryant is worth his enormous salary, but cutting him isn’t worth it either. Cutting him comes at a greater cost: Opportunity costs.

These are the questions the Cowboys must answer before next steps are taken. And if the answer  leads the Cowboys to move on from Dez Bryant, it likely means big problems for Dallas. Here’s why…

Who is easier to replace in 2018?

The question we should be asking is who is easier to replace in 2018 – Dez Bryant or Terrance Williams?

Regardless of what you think of Bryant, he’s unquestionably the top receiver in Dallas.

Therefore, replacing him this offseason will be considerably more difficult than replacing someone like Terrance Williams. We looked at the free agent receivers this year and many project better as a No. 2 receiver at the Z spot in Dallas, than as the No. 1 option at the X spot.

Related Story: Top 5 Free Agent WRs for the Cowboys to Target

That means the Cowboys would be forced to find Dez Bryant’s replacement in the draft. Receivers are always a crapshoot in the draft so relying on the draft to replace a premium starting position is risky, to say the least. Furthermore, the consensus top receiver in this year’s draft, Calvin Ridley, looks best as Z anyway. To pair him with Terrance Williams as a 1-2 option looks redundant.

Now Williams’ contract says he can’t be cut this year, but that doesn’t mean the Cowboys can’t draft someone with his starting spot in mind. Someone like a Calvin Ridley, D.J. Moore, Anthony Miller, or Courtland Sutton could come in an compete with him from Day 1.

They could even develop into a No. 1 receiver someday. The point is, the pressure wouldn’t be on them to be the No. 1 receiver on Day 1.

Besides, Dez may have disappointed but he’s no bum, by any means:

Opportunity Costs

Based on what he’s done the past couple seasons, it’s difficult to make the case that Dez Bryant is worth his enormous salary. But cutting him isn’t worth it either. Cutting him comes at a greater cost: Opportunity costs. If the Cowboys cut bait they will be forced to use additional valuable and premium resources to replace him. And if we’re being honest, that’s probably  a bigger gamble than simply sitting back and hoping Dez rebounds.

No Dez equals big problems for the Cowboys because of what the Cowboys must then do with their resources. Removing Dez forces Dallas to use a premium draft pick and/or invest heavily in a free agent. Neither option will likely do any better in 2018.

Next: What are Dez's, Williams', and Beasley's biggest weaknesses?

That’s why attempting to bring in a replacement for Terrance Williams is the wiser move. It’s an easier role to fill and it gives said player time to develop and maybe even one day become a true No 1.