The Dallas Cowboys released Dez Bryant earlier today, surprising many around the league, including Bryant himself. Many have already speculated about potential landing spots for Bryant, and some have indicated that the Colts could be a possibility. While it may make sense on paper considering the Colts have a ton of cap space and a need at receiver, they should not go after Bryant.
Bryant’s Production has Declined
Bryant has not broken 70 catches or 1,000 yards since 2014 and he has also seen his targets decline with two different quarterbacks under center. He wasn’t as feared a receiver the past few seasons and drew a lot fewer double teams as teams became more confident in cornerbacks shutting him down individually (which is what ended up happening).
While many joke about Bryant’s drop in the playoffs a few years ago, his drops have become a legitimate concern. Last season, he had 6 drops on 132 targets (4.5% drop rate). Those are high numbers.
His catch rate (receptions/targets) has also declined over the past few years. Between 2010 and 2014, his lowest catch rate percentage was 58.5%. From 2015 to 217, his highest catch rate was 52.3% and his lowest was 43.1% (in 2015). He is clearly not the same player anymore.
Dez isn’t worth anything more than $8M... and he’ll ask for more than that
Dez was expected to have a $16.5M cap hit in 2018 and 2019. That figure puts him in the top echelon of receiver cap hits/salaries in the NFL. Based on his recent production, he is worth nowhere near that and probably isn’t worth half of that. His production over the last couple of seasons has been similar to that of Marqise Lee and Michael Crabtree, both of whom received contracts of $8.5M per year and $7M per year, respectively. Due to Bryant’s status in the league and his previous contracts, he’ll most likely ask for more than that.
Bryant is an outspoken player and that doesn’t fly with many teams
It’s no secret that Dez likes to speak his mind. Just yesterday, he went on a rant on Twitter. He had red flags coming out of college and has had some issues in the NFL. He is not a perfect role model by any means, and while some teams like that edge, many others don’t. Based on Jim Irsay’s history with the team, the Colts don’t seem to take too many chances on outspoken players with potential attitude issues.
Bryant wants to play the Cowboys “twice a year” — the Colts play them once every four years
Coincidentally, the Colts play the Cowboys at home this season but based on the schedule rotation, they’ll only face-off against each other once every four years. As he was leaving the Cowboys facility earlier today, he supposedly yelled out that “he’d see the Cowboys twice a year”.
Dez Bryant reportedly on his way out the door said he’d see Cowboys twice this year https://t.co/3VTQyxP3yk— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 13, 2018
If that’s the case, then that would essentially rule out the Colts as an option.
Dez might be a big name, but it’s obvious that the Colts have a long-term plan in place and they have been frugal in terms of spending this offseason, despite the abundance of cap space. I highly doubt they’ll deviate away from their plan to sign a declining player with a big cap hit... and they shouldn’t even consider it.