What a Dez Bryant Holdout Would Mean For Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys publicly denied that star wide receiver Dez Bryant would miss any games if a long-term deal wasn’t reached before the 2015 NFL season began.
They either knowingly lied, or simply didn’t know that Bryant isn’t playing around. Bryant took to social media to reveal the reality, as he acknowledged on his Twitter account that he would not be playing if he and the Cowboys can’t agree to a long-term contract extension before the season starts.
Now things just got interesting.
Bryant’s social media move puts Dallas in a tough spot, as the team now has to decide to either call his public bluff or pay the man his money.
The big question, of course, is what if Dallas doesn’t pay Bryant and he indeed enters 2015 as a holdout? Bryant could always go the Vincent Jackson route and sit out the first 10 games, and then return for the final six to make sure he can still get the franchise tender salary Dallas extended to him before free agency.
That wouldn’t be good for the Cowboys, either, as that’d force them to go 10 games without arguably their best offensive talent.
Needless to say, after losing star running back DeMarco Murray in free agency, losing Bryant would be a crushing blow to this Dallas offense. With tough games in the first 10 weeks against the likes of the Giants (twice), Eagles (twice), Falcons, Saints, Patriots, Seahawks, Buccaneers and Dolphins, not having Bryant could be a huge deal.
That’s especially the case in matchups with the Pats and Seahawks, two teams that reached the Super Bowl a year ago. It could even be a problem against a solid Miami team on the road, while four divisional games only get tougher without their best player suiting up.
In short, a Dez Bryant holdout is very bad news for Dallas. As it stands, they’re a legit playoff contender coming off of a strong 2014 season that saw them win the NFC East and win a playoff game. At full strength, they have appropriate Super Bowl odds (14/1). Without Bryant, though, they could quite easily lose half of their first 10 contests (if not more) and would suddenly free fall from a potential Super Bowl contender to a team on the brink of missing the playoffs.
That’s not an overreaction. This is a team that made the playoffs for the first time last year during the Dez Bryant era. That means, as good as Bryant has been, he hadn’t been enough to put Dallas over the top until 2014. Bryant seemed to take his game to a new level last season, though, as he scored a career high 16 touchdowns and looked to secure a second straight playoff win on the road against the Green Bay Packers before a questionable “drop” call led to a Dallas loss.
Whatever edge Bryant gave the Cowboys a year ago would suddenly be gone, and the Dallas team we know would suddenly be dramatically different. Tony Romo’s top options would start with Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley and Jason Witten, while backup tight end Gavin Escobar would have to be mixed into the offense more than ever. Nothing Escobar or anyone else would do could make up for Bryant’s impact, though, and the rest of the NFC East would arguably be better for it.
In other words, Cowboys fans better hope Dallas either pays up, or Bryant doesn’t show everyone he’s not one to bluff.
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