When The Cowboys Cut Dez Bryant, What Did They Lose?
It's hard to argue that Dez Bryant was not one of the most well known players for the Dallas Cowboys over the last decade. He was flashy, loud, and could make plays that left you asking a lot of questions.
He also had some outbursts that left people asking questions too.
But that happens a lot with NFL players, for various reasons. Keyshawn Johnson famously named a way-too-early-in-life-autobiography "Just Give Me The Damn Ball", Odell Beckham, Jr's recent situations, and Randy Moss's long-list of diva moments...just to name a few. Dez had his share of those moments over the last few years.
Teams will put up with diva players as long as they're producing. But as soon as they're not producing, they're gone.
Insert last week's move from the Dallas Cowboys, where they cut Dez Bryant.
So, how was Dez's production recently? How about over his whole career? We can quickly take a look, but we're going to do it in a different way. We're going to do a blind test.
I have 5 players who were all drafted in 2010, the year Dez was taken by the Cowboys in the draft. Let's compare some basic reviving stats: catches, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. Here are the career stats for these 5 players:
Player A - 733 catches, 9,910 yards, and 59 touchdowns
Player B - 531 catches, 7,459 yards, and 73 touchdowns
Player C - 556 catches, 6,800 yards, and 69 touchdowns
Player D - 629 catches, 8,653 yards, and 57 touchdowns
Player E - 537 catches, 6,419 yards, and 34 touchdowns
OK, so these players are all pretty similar. All over 500 catches, all over 6,400 yards, and all with at least 30 touchdowns. But can you pick out which player is Dez Bryant? He's the loudest on this list, but is he the most productive?
Dez Bryant is Player B. He leads these 5 in career touchdowns, but not by much. Only by 4 touchdowns over Player C, which is very interested when you discover Player C is tight end Jimmy Graham...not even a wide receiver.
Player A is Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers, B is Dez, C is Jimmy Graham, Player D is Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, and Player E is Golden Tate of the Detroit Lions.
Players like Thomas and Tate don't cause issues like Dez does, but their total production is in the same ballpark as Dez. Both have more catches than Dez, Thomas has more yards, and both appear to be better with the media.
Was it time for the Cowboys to cut Dez? Probably. But it's likely not the end of his career, so he'll have a chance to build on these numbers, but unless he shakes the perception of his attitude, he'll likely be remembered more for his off-field actions than on-field play.