The time for being coy or picky or aloof is over. If receiver Dez Bryant wants to make an impact in 2018, and if he hopes to lay the foundation to make a bunch of money in 2019, he needs to sign with a new team. Now.
Sure, the Cowboys screwed Dez by not cutting him in March, when he could have landed with the Ravens before the Ravens signed Michael Crabtree. Once Dez became available in April, the Ravens were still interested, but Dez had less leverage because the Ravens already had Crabtree.
Nearly four months later, Dez has missed the offseason program, and two-plus weeks of training camp have transpired. Week One of the preseason is upon us. With each passing day, his chances of being ready and able to contribute this year are getting slimmer and slimmer.
A first-round pick of the Cowboys in 2010, Dez has spent his entire career playing one position in one offense. As the X receiver in Jason Garrett’s attack, Bryant hasn’t moved around, he hasn’t worked with other quarterbacks, he hasn’t worked with other coaches. He hasn’t ever learned a new offense, other than the one he learned eight years ago.
He’ll be trying to learn plays, concepts, terminology on the fly, while also getting to know teammates and coaches, getting acquainted with a new workplace in a new city while he finds new living arrangements. And it all will be happening with a sense of urgency that keeps getting stronger and stronger.
The good news is he’ll visit the Browns next week. But what if they offer him something like the one-year, $1.9 million package the Patriots gave receiver Eric Decker? Will Dez take it, will he demand more, will he walk away and wait for someone else to come up with something better?
The longer he waits, the harder it will be to get the money he wants now, and to have the kind of year that will get him paid a lot of money later. It already may be too late for Dez to make a true difference, but it’s only going to be harder as the start of the regular season gets closer.
The Browns seem to want him. He may not want them, because he may not view them as a contender. But if he waits for a team he views as a contender, he may end up waiting a long time.