Dallas Cowboys: Trade Rumors Surround Dez Bryant As Cowboys Look Towards Future
One thing you learn about rumors is that there is usually some truth to be found in them.
Earlier this week, it was leaked by an un-named source in the Cowboys front office that the Cowboys might be interested in trading Dez Bryant, the rookie sensation from the 2010 season expected by many to fill the role of the next great wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys.
While Stephen Jones emphatically denied that the Cowboys have any interest in trading Bryant, the time-tested theory of "everything has a price" is still in effect.
And one thing I've learned after watching Jerry Jones for twenty years is that the hints are there for a purpose, and nothing is by coincidence. Whether it be misdirection or for "feeler" purposes to see what Bryant might bring, there is a very good chance that the Cowboys want other teams to know that the door on Bryant is not closed.
Here's a look at some of the pros and cons of what trading Bryant might mean to the Cowboys.
Getting His Game On: Bryant Makes Instant Impact in Rookie Season, More To Come
Dez Bryant's arrival at Cowboys camp in June of 2010 was a special treat to the fans watching, as the 24th pick in the 2010 draft instantly showed why he was touted as one of the best collegiate athletes in the nation during the 2009 season.
Spectacular catches on the first day of camp instantly made him a fan favorite, and despite suffering an injury on a collision with Orlando Scandrick that ended his camp early, Bryant would be ready to produce when the 2010 season began.
Bryant's rookie season was a huge success, as he became one of the few bright spots for a Cowboys team that would lose seven of their first eight games.
Bryant returned two punts for a touchdown, and caught 45 passes for 561 yards and six touchdowns through the air in 12 games played.
Bryant's rookie season was cut short by a broken fibula, but his presence as a future force in the NFL had been established, and that future looks bright.
Value and Grace: Bryant's Rookie Contract Gives Cowboys Top Performance For Less
Dez Bryant's rookie contract is a steal for the level of performance that he has brought to the Cowboys.
In 2010 Bryant was signed to a five year deal worth $11.8 million, with another $3.185 million that can be added through a one-time "likely to be earned" clause.
Even if Bryant collects the incentive in his base contract, it would average out to only around $3 million per year for each of the first five years of his career.
With his rookie year being as much as anyone could hope for, it is reasonable to expect that Bryant will continue his path towards being one of the NFL's top receivers.
Try getting one of those for $3 million a year anywhere else in the NFL. By comparison, the Cowboys let Terrell Owens leave Dallas a year early, and paid him almost $10 million while he played for the Buffalo Bills.
The Cowboys have a find in Bryant; one that is easy on the pocket and that promises fantastic returns on the investment.
It's hard to see the Cowboys letting him go when you view it from that angle alone.
Heroes and Cowboys: Bryant's Youth, Talent And Grace Promise Bright Future
As the Cowboys look to the future under Jason Garrett, they also must acknowledge that a window of opportunity with the talent assembled under Bill Parcells is rapidly closing.
As Bryant matures and grows in the NFL, he has already shown the passion for the game that only the great players possess.
At 22 years of age, Bryant brings youth that will outlast many of those who he now takes the field with, and by the time he retires it is a distinct possibility that his name could end up in the treasured Ring of Honor around the seating in Cowboys stadium.
Bryant's big play potential and strength to match give him the tools needed to one day be considered as one of the greatest to ever play the game in a Cowboys uniform, something that hasn't been seen since the triplets of Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman, and Emmitt' Smith retired.
Add to that Bryant's humble personality despite a tumultuous childhood, and you have the potential for the next true Cowboy's great.
Bryant's heart and his desire to succeed have never been in question, and it is entirely possible that he may be the leader that one day carries the Cowboys in their next rise to the top of the NFL, and the next great receiver to become a legend in the hearts and minds of Cowboys fans.
Train Wreck? Cowboys 2010 Disaster Marks End of Era, Should Rebuilding Begin?
The Dallas Cowboys disintegrated on national television in 2010 on a Sunday night in Green Bay, Wisconsin in front of millions of viewers.
It was an implosion that had been coming for weeks. The 45-7 defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers was in reality a mercy killing, putting Wade Phillips out of his misery after having no answers for why the Cowboys had lost seven of their first eight games.
Jason Garrett was appointed as the interim head coach, and has since been named as the head coach for the Cowboys with a brand new four year deal.
Garrett's former head coach, Jimmy Johnson, built a dynasty with the Cowboys of the nineties when he traded Hershel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings for a group of picks. With those picks, Johnson laid the foundation for the powerhouse that his Cowboys would become.
With the Cowboys already set to receive the number 9 pick in the 2011 draft, trading Dez Bryant to the right team might be just what the doctor ordered to allow Garrett to garner the draft picks needed to re-vamp an offensive line that has questions surrounding all but one position, and a defense that has question marks at several positions.
The incentives to trade Bryant may begin with Jason Garrett's vision for what it will take to return the Cowboys to greatness.
Attitude of Greatness: Does Dez Bryant Meet Garrett's Standards of Discipline?
From the moment Jason Garrett took over as the Cowboys head coach, reports of how he would become the disciplinarian that Wade Phillips was not began to surface.
From practicing in full pads on Wednesday's and Thursdays, to changing the clocks in the training facility from analog to digital so that players would know to the second when team meetings began, Garrett's philosophy of "Being great today" and his newly implemented discipline began to mark his administration as Cowboys head coach.
Rumors began to surface recently that Dez Bryant was routinely late for team meetings, and that Garrett was watching.
In the Thanksgiving day loss to the New Orleans Saints, Dez Bryant was visibly upset over first an official's call of a penalty against him, but there again rumors began to surface that he also was upset over not being involved enough in the passing game.
Cowboys receivers coach Ray Sherman was seen trying to calm Bryant down on different occasions during that game.
Bryant finally got some attention from John Kitna as the Cowboys final drive of the day came to an end.
From the Saints 41 yard line, Kitna threw Bryant three errant passes in a row, and the Cowboys lost to the Saints 30-27.
Whether or not Bryant was upset with Jason Garrett's play calls in the passing game for that day is unknown for sure, but Garrett doesn't seem to be one who will allow his authority to be challenged.
Just ask Terrell Owens.
Romo Friendly Offense: Austin, Williams, Witten, Is Bryant Odd Man Out?
Despite claims that the Cowboys need to trade or release Roy Williams, he and Tony Romo finally found a connection in 2010. Up until then, it was as if Romo simply wasn't comfortable with him, and had to make himself throw to him.
William's salary for 2011 and 2012 is $5.1 million and $6.8 million, which is not that bad for a receiver of Williams reputation.
Now that Williams and Romo have become comfortable with each other, Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones may feel that their best chance at winning is to keep the offense "Romo friendly".
Likewise, Jason Witten and Miles Austin have been with Romo since he became the starting quarterback for the Cowboys. Romo was throwing passes to Austin on the practice squad and as a special teams player long before he emerged as a star wide receiver for the Cowboys.
With Romo being 31, and his prime upon him, Jason Garrett may want to keep his most familiar targets around him.
As the Cowboys found out in 2010, there are only so many plays in a game, and trying to feed the ball to all of the Cowboys individual stars so that they can get their touches and make the highlight reels is almost impossible.
With that in mind, could Jason Garrett be willing to trade Dez Bryant for the picks and/or players that he needs to ensure that Tony Romo can stand tall in the pocket and get the Cowboys offense back on track?
Only Garrett and Jerry Jones know what Jason Garrett's offense will look like in 2010; and if they are betting on winning with Tony Romo and the stars that he has grown comfortable with, a trade to solidify the unit that Garrett has coached for the last four years may be the path that he and Jones decide to take.
Where No Man Dares To Go: Can Bryant Withstand Struggles in Dallas?
When Dez Bryant was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 2010, it was more than likely a dream come true.
Not only would he get to play for the Cowboys, but after a solid year in 2009, it looked as if he was going to a team that would compete with the elite of the NFL.
No where in his mind could he have contemplated what 2010 would be like with the Cowboys. Losing takes it's toll on everyone involved.
With Wade Phillips out and Garrett now in control, Ray Sherman was let go at the end of his contract as wide receiver's coach for the Cowboys.
Sherman had been with Bryant throughout the 2010 season, and had mentored him through a tumultuous season that saw Bryant make some amazing plays, as well as comforted him through the struggles that he faced with the frustrations of the disappointments of 2010.
Why Sherman was not retained is not known, but it was apparent that Garrett no longer wanted him around in Dallas. With Sherman now gone, how Dez Bryant 's attitude will be affected and how he may feel about what really happened in 2010 with the Dallas Cowboys may become an issue.
It's something we do not know. But resentment and a misplaced sense of loyalty for a man that fired his mentor could breed hostility in young Bryant for one Jason Garrett.
If Jason Garrett's tenure as the Cowboys head coach is marked with failure and disappointment, it certainly would take it's toll on a young man like Dez Bryant who had such high expectations and hopes when he signed with the Cowboys.
If Garrett thinks that Bryant could be a distraction to his plans, he may have decided that the right offer might be the one that Dallas should take.
Dez It Matter? Cowboys Decision to Keep Or Trade Bryant May Have Several Factors
Whether or not Dez Bryant will be traded is something that only Jerry and his family know, but remember that Jason Garrett is considered family to the Jones.
Weighing out the pros and cons associated with such a bold move requires an intimate knowledge of the mind of those who make the plans for their vision of how the Cowboys are going to proceed with Jason Garrett at the helm.
Whether Jason were to decide to try to make a run for the Super Bowl with the nucleus he has helped coach for the past four years, and use the value of Dez Bryant to arrange the picks in the 2011 draft to solidify that group; and,
If a lineman like a Logan Mankins were to become an object of talks with the Cowboys in a combination trade, it could be all that it takes to turn Jerry's head; or,
If he feels that Bryant is an irreplaceable piece that he can win with now and also use to build on for the future remains to be seen.
I should point out that the issues raised in this article are purely speculation on my part, but they could indeed be issues. I myself think it would be a mistake for the Cowboys to trade Dez Bryant, and I don't hope to see it at all.
But, one thing is for sure: The whispers have gone out--and from now until after the 2011 draft, the question will linger in the back of the mind of every GM in the NFL as to what it would take to get Dez, and if they are willing to take that risk.
And until the draft is over, Cowboys fans will just have to wait to see.
And that's the bottom line.