By Zach Walker
The Cowboys have about a month, depending on when this is being read, to secure a long term deal with Dez Bryant. July 15th is the deadline, and after what seems like an offseason long game of tug-of-war, Dez has stated and confirmed his position that he could miss at least the season opener, the Sunday night game against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium.
This offseason, I’ve read and heard nothing but supremely positive things about Terrence Williams taking full advantage of the number one receiver’s reps left on the table by Dez Bryant’s absence, but there is no way that Terrence Williams could replicate what Dez Bryant does during a game. Drawing coverage to his side, and even making plays within those double coverage situations. Without Dez on the field, the defense will be able to clamp down harder on Jason Witten, force Romo to make more difficult throws to get the ball to Williams, and tighten the spacing for Cole Beasley to wiggle open. It would give throwing options like Gavin Escobar and Lance Dunbar more opportunities to make big plays, and allow Scott Linehan more opportunity to get creative in what he sends to the field. But, what if this goes beyond one game?
I know the history, of 1993, when Emmitt Smith held out the first two games. The Cowboys lost both games, they got the deal done, he went on to snag his third straight rushing title, and the Cowboys won their second straight Super Bowl, of which he was named the MVP. Bit of a problem, however. Under new CBA rules, that July 15th deadline is the final day that a potential franchised player can negotiate for a long term deal. That means, that no matter the hold-out, after July 15th, Dez can only sign the $12.823 million dollar, one year tender, that he obvious hasn’t wanted to sign.
Is the threat of him missing the first game legitimate, and will it scare up a deal? Well, if I’m thinking about Jerry Jones as a business man, threats go one-way, and that’s from Jones. But, Jerry Jones as a general manager must respect the position that the new CBA puts him in, if it’s not done by July 15th, why would he sign at all, because he can’t get that long term deal done after that, and that’s what all parties want.
In this upcoming season, where the defense has added some up-front, grunting torque to get after the opposing passer; getting Sean Lee healthy (and stay that way) and pairing him with Rolando McClain, marking a pretty potent tandem; adding back end talent like Byron Jones and Corey White; why potentially fumble a season away, after all the progress made from the past 20 months?
I personally, don’t know where both sides are, I assume the Cowboys want something as beautiful as the Tyron Smith contract, which is the greatest team friendly deal in pro football (my opinion), and I’ll assume the hold-up is Dez wanting a Watt/Suh sized deal, which isn’t undeserved, but just isn’t cost effective, especially when one considers that Dez will be catching passes from a new franchise quarterback sometime in the next half-decade.
The threat of missing games is real, so this next month is going to be a huge difference maker in how this season is going to go for the Cowboys, because Murray might have been deemed replaceable, but that same sentiment can’t be said about Dez Bryant.