Quick Hits Edition: 5 Thoughts on Dez Being a Fit in D.C.
Updated: May 9
Welcome back to the Burgundy and Gold Report! Social Media has been buzzing as of late, regarding the availability of former Dallas Cowboy receiver Dez Bryant. The B&G Report conducted a social media survey on Twitter/Face Book and the numbers might surprise you! Based on over three hundred comments, Likes and GIF’s from Skins fans regarding the topic, over 60% stated that they want to see Dez in the Burgundy & Gold. Based on his decline in play, attitude issues and age I was surprised to say the least. I expected a more balanced opinion from Skins fans, considering how much Redskins fans dislike Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys.
The Redskins initially made it clear that they had no interest in signing the former Cowboy, but that was back in April/May. Considering Bryant is still available and has made it known he wants revenge on his former team, it seems like a good match right? Well today we’ll go through a few thoughts from fans, players and the media that have surfaced over the last 2 months, as well as my thoughts on the Redskins potentially signing Bryant. Without further ado, let’s get to it!
When considering adding a player like Dez Bryant to your receiving group, factoring in his short/longterm durability is imperative. All other issues aside, Dez could help the Redskins and Alex Smith. This question is at what cost? In this situation, financial considerations aren’t a dealbreaker. What is concerning is the games he’s missed, but more importantly his drop in production over the last three years. Although Dez was active for all 16 games in 2017, he only registered 69 rec for 838 yards for 6 TD’s as the Cowboys number one receiver. Those aren’t bad numbers, but considering that he’s only a few years removed from the 2014 season in which he accumulated 88 rec 1,320 yards with 16 TD’s, that’s a pretty substantial drop off in production! In fact between 2012-2014 Bryant registered 273 rec for 3,935 yards and 41 TD’s as opposed to his numbers between 2015-2017 150 rec for 2,035 yards and most importantly only 17 TD’s. Bryant’s surgically repaired foot has really hampered his production over the years. So teams will no longer dedicate double teams or shift coverage to Dez’s side of the field compared to years past, so what do you have in Dez at this point in his career? The fact is the soon to be 30 year old pass catcher is no longer a #1 receiver in this league. Durability issues will continue to arise for Bryant, as well as an inevitable drop in production.
#2 The New Culture In D.C.
The Redskins seem to have finally set a new/positive culture in Washington with a drama free offseason for the most part. Doug Williams seems to have settled in and established his role as Senior Vice President of Player Personal. Also the Redskins have found a great young football mind as well, in Director of College Personal Kyle Smith who is a favorite to become the Redskins next general manager. This year’s Draft just seemed to have their stamp on it, as opposed to years past when flashy players were selected by Washington over need. It truly seems they are building for long term success, investing in youth and not signing over the hill veterans. After witnessing Redskins coaches/players coming and going year after year, the Skins finally seem like they are starting to get it!
The reasons I mention the Culture improvements in Washington is because adding players that are labeled as media divas, might not be the best path at this time. Let’s face it, signing Bryant means signing up for his attitude, Twitter rants and sideline temper tantrums. As Skins fans we all could agree that if Dez puts up 700-800 yards and 5-6 TD’s, maybe it’s worth a 1 year flier. The main issue with signing the former Cowboy receiver would also involve pushing youth aside, even if for only one year. Youngsters such as Robert Davis, Mo Harris and even UDFA Alabama receiver Cam Sims would be affected by the Skins bringing in Dez. Bryant would most likely be the 2nd or 3rd receiver on the depth chart, considering they just signed Paul Richardson to a LTD and invested a 1st round selection on Josh Doctson. The size/speed and Red Zone potential of Davis, Harris and Sims are just to similar to Dez in my humble opinion. I’d rather the Skins develop the youngsters who all stand 6’3 + and have less durability concerns. Signing Dez would ultimately mean, moving on from an up and coming pass catcher. So if those youngsters don’t pan out in Training Camp, Dez could still be an option for Washington if he’s still available in August.
Spending too much time analyzing Bryant’s personality is pointless, but what is important is how his locker room presence would effect the current receiving group. Jamison Crowder is currently the veteran of the Redskins receiving group, but in no way has he shown leadership skills. Any of the Redskins current receivers could still emerge as a potential leader though, but Bryant would not be that player in my humble opinion. Wide Receivers Doctson, Richardson and Quinn need direction and although Dez would bring experience, his desire to help players around him have been questioned per multiple reports. One fact that is undeniable though, Bryant would provide a fire that the receiving core has desperately lacked! The question I pose to my fellow Redskins Fans is, does the cost equal the reward with Bryant? Considering Crowder had a down year in 2017, but still produced similar numbers to Bryant’s 2014-2017 stats. So passing on Bryant, might be the smart move at this time.
When analyzing Bryant’s production, it’s undeniable that he could be an instant Red Zone threat for the Redskins. Dez would instantly become the the most experienced receiver if signed by Washington. The Red Zone scoring has been the Achilles heel for the Redskins over the years and Dez could make a real difference. Although Bryant plays extremely physical, that could be a detriment to him at this point in his career. As previously mentioned, his foot issues have been well documented. In order to continue to be an effective Red Zone threat though, getting some real air for jump balls could be an issue for Bryant at this stage of his career. Although Dez’s anticipation/ball skills are second to none among current receivers, his decline makes me question if he can continue to excel in this area going forward. The Redskins finally have multiple receivers with some height and great vertical ability, so shouldn’t the Skins give those youngsters a shot first?
#5 Low Cost Buy Low?
It’s been well documented that Bryant’s desire is to stay in the NFC East. Dez has apparently turned down other offers form non NFC East teams and is currently playing the waiting game. Bryant is well aware that any of the 32 team’s top receiving targets could go down with injury at anytime and he could get that call. On Friday’s Sirius Radio Show NFL Moving the Chains, host John Clayton mentioned Bryant could be a bargain for a receiver needy team.
“At this point Dez could probably be had for as low as $2 million or as high as $5 million for a one year deal.”
That’s a bargain for a productive veteran for sure! Could it be he best time to buy low? Per Overthecap.com, the Redskins currently have $13,471.88 in available CAP. So even if on the high side for a one year $5 million deal, the Redskins would still have over nearly $8.5 million still available. The issue is the Redskins have key players, who are soon to be 2019-2020 UFA and need to be extended.
The chatter I keep hearing is who’s the Skins #1 receiver going to be? In Jay Gruden’s West Coast scheme, any receiver on any given Sunday can be the #1. Also factor in a healthier Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, who add an additional dimension to the passing game when mentioning the team’s best receivers. Although Paul Richardson has had a quiet three years per league standards, his numbers almost mirror that of Bryant’s over the last three years. The primary difference between the two is Richardson’s pure speed and the ability to create separation vs DB’s. At this point in his career, Dez lacks in both those areas. In the end if Bryant’s asking price is in fact between $2-$5 million, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Redskins reverse course and reconsider signing Dez. In reality though, I just don’t see it happening unless one of the Redskins top four receivers go down with a significant injury.
This topic has garnered so much attention on social media it’s astounding! It really is a testament of the Die Hard Redskins fans out there, talking so much offseason football and the lengths we would go in order to succeed! Signing Dez is not like the Terrell Pyor commitment of 2016, in that Pryor might have had some leeway based on only playing the position for one full season. On the other hand, Bryant would be expected to produce instantly and connect with the current group of Skins receivers. I just don’t see Dez coming off the bench, just to play in 3-4 receiver sets or goal line. His ego and erratic behavior just seem like it would be a detriment to the team, so in my mind that would be the key factor in taking a chance on Dez. Yes the Skins could offer low guarantees and move on before the season starts if it doesn’t work out, but could the Redskins handle the damage control it doesn’t turn out right? I think the simple answer would be no.
Thanks for checking out another Burgundy and Gold Report and thank you to the readers that participated in the social media survey. It’s always great to hear the Die Hard Redskins fans show their passion, especially when it involves signing former Cowboys! Some of the responses were hilarious and simply poked fun at the idea of signing Dez, but the majority of Skins fans are on board with signing anybody who could help the Redskins win. That kind of fan devotion makes me proud to bleed Burgundy & Gold!
Written By Adam Aniba
*Credit for photos to nfl.com, isportsweb.com, sfgate.com, insidethestar.com, flickr.com and cowboyswire.usatoday.com