Again, one way or another, I strongly believe Dez Bryant will be in uniform playing receiver for the Cowboys Sept. 13 against the Giants.
But, just for fun, sure, I’ll play hypothetical with you. What if the Cowboys and Bryant don’t reach a long-term agreement by Wednesday afternoon? And what if Bryant – illogically, mind you – backs up his threat to skip games rather than play for $13 million under the franchise tag?
If those worlds align then, yeah, yikes. We’d all cringe if the Cowboys lined up against New York without its leading rusher and leading receiver from 2014.
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Replacing DeMarco Murray will be difficult enough, and heading into training camp we’re still not sure what combo and/or order of Joseph Randle/ Darren McFadden/ Lance Dunbar/Ryan Williams will attempt to fill the void by the departure of the NFL’s leading rusher. Replacing Bryant would be a similarly daunting task.
He’s obviously the team’s best receiver, but also option No. 1 in the Red Zone. The offense would drastically change without Bryant. And, no, not for the better.
Terrance Williams would get more balls, as would slot receiver Cole Beasley. But Bryant’s absence would cause the Cowboys to potentially rely on No. 4 target Devin Street, who took his position while he held out of OTA but had only two catches as a rookie last season.
The logical answer would be to rely on the offensive line and run the ball even more without Bryant. But then suddenly you’re putting the offense in the hands of a running back committee that has produced exactly one 1,000-yard NFL season.
If Bryant did indeed skip games, the Cowboys might wind up so desperate they signed a veteran free agent such as Wes Welker or Reggie Wayne.
It would be an ugly scenario. But one that – thankfully – I remain convinced will not play out.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.