Rumors have been swirling about the possibility of the Dallas Cowboys trading last year’s first round draft pick, Dez Bryant. The idea was floated by former Cowboys’ scout Bryan Broaddus while appearing on the Ben & Skin Show on ESPN radio in Dallas.
After hearing the discussion, ESPNDallas.com writer Calvin Watkins asked an unnamed source in the Cowboys’ front office if they would consider trading Bryant for a first round pick in the upcoming NFL draft. The unnamed source reportedly responded by saying, “I would think about it.”
More fuel was thrown on the fire when former Cowboy wide receiver Patrick Crayton appeared on the Ben & Skin Show and said the following: “They let him get away with a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff. Hopefully whoever they bring in as receivers coach (and they say Garrett is a disciplinarian), won’t let him get away with so much stuff.”
In all fairness to Garrett and the Cowboys, it should be noted that Crayton did not leave the team on favorable terms. He also remains very close to receivers coach Ray Sherman, whose contract was not renewed by Garrett, so anything that he says must be put into proper perspective.
Even if everything that Crayton says is true, it doesn’t change the fact that Dez Bryant is by far the most dynamic wide receiver that has worn a Cowboy uniform since Michael Irvin ended his career in 1999.
So, while a former Cowboy scout and a current unnamed source in the Cowboys’ front office think that the idea of trading Dez Bryant is something that should be considered, at this point it is nothing more than conjecture.
The fact that a disgruntled former Cowboy receiver has issues with Bryant does not make the possibility of this potential trade any more likely.
Very few positives came out of this disastrous season for the Cowboys
As the team continued its downward spiral into the abyss with Wade Phillips at the helm, it appeared as though many Cowboys had already packed it in with eight games remaining in the season.
When Garrett took over as interim head coach, the Cowboys started playing more like the team that everyone expected to see in the beginning of the season.
However, while Phillips was guiding the Cowboys to a 1-7 record, only a handful of players seemed to be playing to their potential.
These players continued to give maximum effort and showed a strong desire to succeed in the face of failure, and they are the ones who should be the foundation upon which this team is built.
And though they would undoubtedly generate the greatest return in a trade, the Cowboys should not consider trading any of the following players:
The Cowboys had the eighth pick in the 1998 draft. When it was their turn to select, Randy Moss was still on the board and he was theirs for the taking. Fearing some of Moss’ off-the-field issues, the Cowboys took the safe route and selected defensive end Greg Ellis.
Ellis had a very respectable career with the Cowboys. If not for the fact that they passed on Moss to take him, he may have been looked at as one of Jerry Jones’ best picks. But fairly or unfairly, Cowboy fans always compared him to Moss throughout his career.
Moss took the league by storm in his rookie season. He played with a chip on his shoulder as he tried to prove to all of the teams who passed on him that they made a big mistake.
No team felt Moss’ wrath like the Cowboys.
Throughout his career, no matter what team he was with, he always played his best games against the Cowboys because he felt most slighted by them.
Dez Bryant was not passed over by the Cowboys. In fact, the Cowboys moved up in the draft to get him. Certainly, they were enamored with his talent, but trading up for Bryant also gave Jerry Jones the chance to redeem himself for the Moss decision that haunted him for several years.
Bryant may have had some injury problems, and he may have even fallen asleep in meetings. He also did not learn the playbook nearly as fast as everyone had hoped that he would.
However, he is unequivocally the best playmaker that the Cowboys have had since winning three Super Bowls in the '90s.
Every time that Bryant got his hands on the ball, he gave you the feeling that he could end up in the end zone. He fought for yards when most receivers would have gone down or out of bounds. He battled for every ball that came his way as if his life depended on it.
If the Cowboys were foolish enough to trade him away, Bryant would make them pay for their mistake the same way that Moss did.
Since the Cowboys have already been down this road with Moss, it’s hard to imagine them setting themselves up for several years of wondering what would have happened if they didn’t trade Bryant after one spectacular, injury-shortened season.
There is no reason to mince words. Simply stated, the Cowboys’ defense was putrid this year.
DeMarcus Ware received very little help this season from his defensive teammates. Offensive coordinators would specifically devise game-plans to stop Ware, and he still led the NFL in sacks.
Ware is arguably the best pass rusher in the NFL and quite possibly the best overall defensive player as well.
His motor never stopped running in practice or in games, even the ones that the Cowboys lost by very large margins.
Ware may not be a vocal leader like Keith Brooking, but his play sets the tone for the entire defense. He leads by example with the way that he prepares and with the intensity that he brings to the game.
It wouldn’t be worth it to trade Ware even if multiple draft picks were offered.
Despite the fact that the Cowboys have spent a fortune in draft picks and salary at the wide receiver position, the passing game still would not be the same without Jason Witten.
He is arguably the best tight end in the game today.
When the Cowboys needed a blocker to help inexperienced offensive tackles with pass rushers, Witten stepped up and delivered.
When the Cowboys needed to complete passes to keep the chains moving, Witten stepped up and delivered.
Like Ware, Witten leads by example.
He works tirelessly studying game film and plays as hard in practice as he does in the game.
Although he is recognized as an outstanding tight end, his greatest asset is the intangibles that he brings to the team.
It is fair to say that this offense would not be nearly as potent without Witten.
It is much more difficult to include Tony Romo on this list because he has only led the Cowboys to one playoff victory in his entire career, and he missed the majority of this season after getting injured.
Jon Kitna did an outstanding job running this offense after Romo went down. Surprisingly, the Cowboys actually played much better under Kitna than they did under Romo.
However, Kitna is going to turn 39 in the first month of the 2011 season, so even if the Cowboys thought he was as good as Romo, they still could not count on him as a long-term solution.
Unless the Cowboys saw enough in Stephen McGee to anoint him the quarterback of the future, they have no choice but to rely on Romo for the next few seasons.
No quarterback coming out in this year’s draft will be anywhere near as good as Romo is right now. So, unless the Cowboys were ready to declare that they are in a rebuilding mode, there is no place for a rookie quarterback on this team.
Andrew Luck would have been the only one worth considering if he entered the draft, but the Cowboys would have had to give away so much to get him that it would have weakened the rest of the team.
The Cowboys Have Talent
The Cowboys are not nearly as bad as their 6-10 record would indicate.
They have too much talent on this roster to blow everything up and go into a rebuilding mode.
If this team is going to compete in 2011, they must keep these four players and build around them. Everyone else on the roster should be considered “fair game” provided that the Cowboys can get equal value in return for any player they trade.