If Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has lost a step and/or other physical attributes after eight NFL seasons, it’s true that quarterback Dak Prescott had no role in the veteran’s release. If Bryant can still play like he used to, Prescott definitely had a hand in the divorce, because it was Prescott’s reluctance to throw the ball to Bryant that kept Bryant from producing in a way that justified his status and salary as a No. 1 receiver.
And so, as Bryant looks for a new team on a belated basis, his No. 1 factor should be finding a quarterback who will throw the ball in his direction far more frequently that Dak did.
Again, if Dez can still do what he used to be able to do, it means that when he seems to be covered he’s actually still open, and that a properly-placed pass will be caught. Tony Romo knew that, and Romo would make those throws. Dak, who was thrust unexpectedly into the starting lineup as a rookie and who built confidence with a great running game and an offensive line that allowed him to work through his progressions until a receiver was clearly open, possibly never developed the comfort level during two NFL seasons to consistently throw what looked like a 50-50 ball, but that may have had a higher chance of success.
Plenty of receivers over the years have entered free agency with the goal of playing for a great quarterback, but with Dez it’s more important that he have a quarterback who understand when Dez is, and isn’t, truly open.
Other factors will become relevant, from cap space to culture to whether and to what extent the team is a contender to, apparently, whether the Cowboys are on the schedule. Regardless, if Dez still has it and hopes to demonstrate it, he’ll need a quarterback who will be far more willing to throw it to Dez when Dez isn’t wide open — and to throw it accurately when he does.