The start of free agency was one to be remembered. Contracts were signed everywhere, and many players landed long-term deals worth millions. The market for wide receivers was the one most inflated. Players that don’t have a 1,000 yards season behind them got millions.
In weeks and even months behind us, the story of Dez Bryant and Dallas Cowboys was the one that media in Texas focused on. Both public and Cowboys officials were together on the fact that Dez needs to take a pay cut or to be cut. Now that free agency started things look entirely different.
Looking at contracts signed by top free agent WR’s all of them seem to be overpaid. Now Dez Bryant’s contract seems like a bargain deal considering his past and quality. And here’s why. Chiefs signed Sammy Watkins on a 3-year $48 million contract with $30 million guaranteed. Bears gave Allen Robinson a three-year $42 million contract. Robinson is coming back from torn ACL. Redskins signed former Seahawk Paul Richardson on a 5-year $40 million deal with $16.5 million guaranteed. Finally, Dolphins gave Albert Wilson a 3-year $24 million contract.
Bryant is entering the fourth year of his five-year deal which was signed for $70 million with $45 million guaranteed. In 2018 he will make $12.5 million with a salary cap hit of $16.5 million. This is still plenty more than the rest of players named, but Dez, despite his decline, still fairs better on the field then all of them.
The only player, besides Dez to have more than 1,000 yards and more than 10 TDs in a season is Robinson. Watkins had a 1,000 yards year but never more than ten touchdowns. The best year for Richardson stands at 703 yards and six touchdowns. Wilson best outing had 554 yards and three touchdowns.
Bryant has three seasons with more than 1,000 yards and 10 TDs behind him. When healthy and with a good QB throwing the ball to him he can have these numbers again. Dak Prescott is a decent quarterback, but part of the fault for Dez’s decline lies with him. The Dak-friendly offense on which Cowboys are working on in the off-season will undoubtedly boast Bryant’s numbers.
If Cowboys do decide to release him, Dez shouldn’t worry. With the market ready to pay wide-receivers he would be in demand. But Dallas franchise would have a tough job to try and replace him. Also, if released, Dez would certainly look to go to a contender, or to a team with a legendary QB. With, for example, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, or Drew Brees throwing the ball to him Dez would explode. And with clear signs from free agency that WR’s are a commodity Cowboys would be quick to regret letting Dez go.