Should Dez Bryant Get an Extension?
The Cowboys have had their share of great receivers in the franchise’s history and when it’s all said and done, Dez Bryant could be up there with the likes of Michael Irvin and Drew Pearson. Bryant has had back-to-back seasons that rank among the Cowboys best, and while he is making a wage that would make the rest of us cry of happiness, he is severely underpaid by comparison to his peers. Bryant is a play-maker, one of those receivers you can just throw the ball up to the back of the endzone and tell “go get it”, which Tony Romo does plenty of. From a spectator’s point of view, he should get the money he’s due, but what does he really mean to the Cowboys offense.
When it comes to the current off-season, it looks like Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is a fan of what the team is getting out of Bryant. He’s in good shape, works hard, is a team player and has put himself in a good position to get that contract extension. Bryant will be a free-agent after this upcoming season, and the Cowboys can not afford to lose their best receiver. While Terrance Williams looks like a solid wide receiver that could contribute for years to come, it’s pretty shaky after that. Miles Austin’s production fell off a cliff and he was plagued by injuries over the last few years, so he was let go and is now in Cleveland. Bryant’s 1233 receiving yards in 2013 was better than the next two Cowboys receivers combined, and Jason Witten will be 32 by the end of next season so they can’t be counting on the same high-level production from their tight end.
There are 27 receivers in the NFL that are paid over $5 million a season, including guys like Brian Hartline, Golden Tate and Steve Johnson — all of who are a fraction of the wide receiver Bryant is. This will likely be a good negotiating point for Dez’s agent, and the Cowboys should take the same numbers into consideration. Not resigning Bryant would require them to make a splash in the free agent market that is not likely to hold a receiver of his caliber, and they’d probably have to pay more when bidding against other teams with more cap space.
The Cowboys are one of the hottest tickets in the NFL year after year, and part of that is due to exciting players like Bryant who can turn the game on its head at any moment.
Bryant, who is 25 and will turn 26 midway through this upcoming season, could be entering the best few years of his career. Michael Irvin did not have a standout season until he was 25, and was one of the best receivers in the NFL through the age of 31. When you’ve drafted a franchise WR and he has performed for you, there’s no reason to not reward him a little early. It helps him feel good about his position on the team, and taking away any doubt about where he’ll be in 2015 is beneficial to the player and the team alike.