The Dallas Cowboys’ offseason soap opera involving Dez Bryant comes to a somewhat surprising end, and they’ll be better off for it.
First off, I’ll admit it. I’m amazed the old man did it. For a man that becomes overly attached to his star players, I figured Jerry Jones would find some kind of loophole to keep Dez Bryant on the Dallas Cowboys. So when word trickled out on Friday that Bryant was released outright, it actually surprised me. I’m not used to cold, calculated football decisions from the old coot.
Then again, this is likely more indicative of a further changing of the guard when it comes to personnel decisions. Maybe refreshingly so, this isn’t the Cowboys I recognize from the past twenty-plus years. I’ve made no bones regarding my level of frustration with the way this organization has done their business, so perhaps I need to give credit where it’s due. This decision was the right one, and it was a long time coming.
The bottom line is 2014 Dez Bryant was peak Dez Bryant. And oh, what a year it was. Dude was an unstoppable force of nature. The team hit an unexpected groove that season. You remember. It all culminated in one of those classic what-could-have-been scenarios. I still maintain that Seattle and New England were fighting for the Cowboys’ championship that season. That was one of those lighting in a bottle campaigns that’s supposed to end hoisting serious hardware.
Alas, we all know what happened. It’s almost fitting that Bryant’s lasting legacy in Dallas is the same as his old quarterback’s. Indeed, those two guys did their level best to put the team on their shoulders that day. Dez Bryant has every right to feel extraordinarily proud of his time here. For his faults, he is a max effort guy, and that is always commendable.
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But now that he’s gone, the next obvious question is “What now?” Well, I’m assuming this puts Dallas squarely in the Calvin Ridley sweepstakes. If nothing else, SMU’s Courtland Sutton or Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk could be a nice consolation prize. Either way, there’s no doubt that wide receiver is a position of need with this team now. Alternately, I have a fantasy vision of this opening up the Earl Thomas window again. I’m not alone. Realistically speaking, jettisoning Bryant is good for the long term health of this team. The move unlocks the possibilities of improving both the offense and the defense.
But back to Dez.
If you follow this saga on social media, you’ll know this is a highly polarizing matter.
For the people who scorn this deal, Dez Bryant is–and has always been–the People’s Champion, and rightfully so. He bleeds silver and blue like most of the fan base. I don’t want to seem dismissive of his departure, even though I am a proponent of the move. But there are a ton of fans that simply do not like this. They have every right to feel this way, but I also ask them to take his recent performance into account. Continuing with the status quo simply wasn’t an option.
So we move forward without Dez. It’ll be okay. This team has every chance of going 9-7 next year without him as they did with him. Of course, the possibility of going 12-4 also exists. What we need to keep in mind is that the NFL is a year-to-year venture. We could be looking at a case of addition by subtraction, so it’s advisable to let this all play out and focus on the long game.