Now that a new era has begun for the Dallas Cowboys and “Garrett’s guys” are gone, the campaign for a Dez Bryant-Cowboys reunion has ignited.
In eight seasons with the Cowboys, Bryant compiled 7,459 yards, 73 touchdowns, and 531 receptions. Between 2012-2014, the former all-pro receiver was at the pinnacle of his career – three straight seasons of at least 88 receptions, 1,200 yards, and 12 touchdowns.
He endured a down season in 2015 due to his injuries and the absence of Tony Romo. And in 2016, he spent the majority of the season getting acclimated to a rookie quarterback.
2017 was a respectable output (69 rec, 838 yards, 6 Tds) but it still didn’t match the $70-million contract he signed in 2014.
Bryant will turn 32 next season and hasn’t played a snap since being released from the team after the 2017 season. However, his workouts can be found on various social media clips as he lobbies for a return to the Cowboys.
But the question remains: does he fit?
Michael Gallup is currently the only receiver under contract who logged over 10 receptions this season. Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, Jason Witten, Blake Jarwin and Tavon Austin are all impending free agents.
Bryant mentioned on his Twitter that he would be comfortable in the same role Witten was in this past season.
Give me the role they gave witten.. no shot at witten ..let me play with zeke pollard Gallup cooper Cobb jarwin…… think about it.. in the mean time I’m working
— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) January 19, 2020
Witten was targeted 83 times (tied for third on the team) and caught 63 passes for 529 yards and four touchdowns.
Although recently hired head coach Mike McCarthy has been known for his passing primary offenses, Dallas displayed an air attack this season quite different from the ones McCarthy oversaw.
The top four targeted receivers for Dallas were Cooper (119), Gallup (113), Witten (83) and Cobb (83).
Receiving Targets Season averages under McCarthy (past nine seasons):
Receiver 1: 130
Receiver 2: 100
Receiver 3: 83
Receiver 4: 60
In seven of those nine seasons, the tight end or running back was in the top four of target leaders on the team.
Additionally, during that time he only had one season where a running back rushed more than 250 times (Elliott’s career-low is 249 in 2017).
Four receivers having 80 or more targets is abnormally high for a team who is built to run the ball. Even more so when you see McCarthy truly only features four receivers in offenses that didn’t have an Ezekiel Elliott.
And with Cobb still in the mix to return in 2020 the question stands at would Bryant be comfortable as the fifth option on this team?
Though a reunion would spark added excitement for many Cowboy fans, it may not be ideal to employ a 32-year-old receiver as a fifth option over a piece you can get in the draft.
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