The latest buzz among the national media regarding the Dallas Cowboys is, of course, the “Dez Bryant Rules”—whether or not they are too harsh, necessary or even appropriate. Some in the media have slaughtered Jerry Jones for having these rules in place, implying that Dez either needs to grow up or that Dallas should cut him.
The highlights of the rules include (h/t Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas/Fort Worth):
- No alcohol
- Can only attend team approved nightclubs with his security team
- Twice a week counseling sessions
- Three-man security team
- Members of the security team will drive Bryant to all team functions
I have to wonder though if the media are not being selfish, as Dez Bryant's off-field issues certainly make for good stories for these reporters. If these restrictions work, those stories are gone. If Dallas were to part ways now with Dez and he were to succeed elsewhere, those same members of the media would turn around and crush the Cowboys for not working with the him as a person and being focused on just him as “the player.”
The immense talents of Dez Bryant are obvious. If they did not exist, Jerry certainly would not be going to this level to try to help Dez Bryant, the person. The ironic thing is that, after reading about the new Dez Bryant rules, I took a step back and thought to myself what else could be in play in Jerry’s mind regarding Dez. Then it dawned on me—Miles Austin. How does one wide receiver play a part for the other? Let me explain.
As spotrac.com notes, Dez’s initial rookie contract finishes at the end of the 2014 season with him making $1.78 million. Until a few seasons of improved behavior are in the books, it is not likely that Dallas will approach Dez about a new deal. So, it’s safe to assume that he will likely play out his rookie deal. Miles Austin’s deal runs until 2016 with him making $6.8 million in 2015 and $11.3 million in 2016.
Now, if Dez goes the next two seasons without incident and shows maturity, the Cowboys will feel much more comfortable locking Dez up to a new deal. (Dez will be a mere 26 years old in 2014.) They might feel okay parting ways with Austin or extending him but with a significantly lower financial commitment, as he will be 30 years old in 2014.
Now, if Dez continues with his off-field incidents and bad press, even after this effort by the Cowboys, they can simply allow him to walk at the end of his deal and keep Miles Austin for the remainder of his deal. They could then bring in a new wide receiver to fill the role that Dez was not mature enough to handle.
From the outside, it appears that Dez realizes that this is his last straw with the Cowboys. The Dallas Morning News reported that he asked for these guidelines to help him keep things straightened out and to mature as a man and a player. If you do your research on Dez, you soon find a young man who grew up with little, if any, guidance in his formative years but who maybe now is mature enough to ask for help. Personally, I hope that these rules provide the guidance and structure to help Dez Bryant reach his potential both on- and off-field.
Please follow me on twitter at @ftballdialogue