The Cowboys missed the playoffs this season, and that doesn’t appear to be acceptable in the eyes of the team’s brass.
Team owner Jerry Jones spoke about the team’s disappointing 2017 campaign during his weekly radio appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, and specifically mentioned that veteran receiver Dez Bryant needs to provide more big plays on offense in the future.
“Well, I think Dez is right,” Jones said on Tuesday, as transcribed by Nick Shook of NFL.com. “We need more from Dez. We need bigger plays. That’s obvious to everybody is we didn’t get big plays. I don’t know that you ever get enough of them, but we certainly didn’t get the amount that we have to have to change our fate here. And, so, I agree with him. We need to have bigger plays.
“There’s a lot into that, but we’ve got to get more from — he’s [a] top player on our team. He certainly expects to make big plays, the expectation for Dak [Prescott] to get him the ball is there. We’ve gotten used to it. Yeah, we need more from that area.”
Bryant hauled in 69 receptions for 838 yards this season, and caught only six touchdown passes in 16 games. To Jones’ point, he averaged only 12.1 yards per catch — the lowest of his entire eight-year career. Bryant produced only two plays of 40 yards or more, and eight of 20 yards or more, so Jones’ argument does appear to have some weight. Dez, however, isn’t the same player he was a few years back, and may be moving out of his prime years, so the team may need to temper its expectations about him still being a big-play receiver. It might be time to acknowledge that he’s becoming more of a possession guy, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
The Cowboys receiver has two years left on his current deal, but he has the option to opt out after 2018. He’s set to earn $12.5 million next season, and it really wouldn’t be a shock if the team eventually trades him in the offseason. The headache from his emotional outbursts may not be worth his play on the field, especially with him not looking like the explosive, dominant receiver he once was.