Dallas Cowboys

Super Bowl LII analysts differ on Dez Bryant’s value to Dallas Cowboys

It seems everyone has an opinion on receiver Dez Bryant's declining production and the impending decision the Dallas Cowboys are facing regarding his $12.5 million base salary for 2018.

After catching just 69 passes for 838 yards and six touchdowns in 2017 while also leading the league in dropped passes, the Cowboys are poised to ask Bryant to take a pay cut or be cut.

NBC NFL analyst Rodney Harrison said there is no doubt in his mind that Bryant is gone because he is no longer a No. 1 receiver and not deserving of that contract.

“He will be gone,” Harrison said during a news conference to promote Super Bowl LII, which will air on NBC Sunday. “They ain't going to pay him $12.5 million. Is he a No. 1? No. He is not a No. 1 receiver, but Dez can still play.”

Harrison, a former all-pro safety and Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, said the biggest problem with Bryant is that he is a distraction to himself and his teammates with his complaining on the sideline and doesn't foster a good environment for a young quarterback such as Dak Prescott.

“When you look at Dez and he is crying and screaming for the ball that becomes a distraction,” Harrison said. “You watch tape of Dez and you say 'you not open and when you are open you are dropping the ball'.

“So he doesn't have a lot of room to complain. If I was on that team, I would say, 'Dez you have a young quarterback, just get open. It's not about you and your individual stats, it's about the team'. I don't know if they have anybody in that locker room who will tell Dez that but he needs to straighten it out because that act gets old.”

Cris Collinsworth, NBC's lead game analyst, had a completely different take. He says Bryant is still an elite receiver if put in the right situation. He blames the six-game suspension of running back Ezekiel Elliott and Prescott's inability to get to him covered for the decline in production.

“It is never easy when you lose your running back for as long as they lost Zeke,” Collinsworth said. “One those things you want to do is you want to create those one-on-one matchups for Dez. When Dez is one on one with anybody he is going to out-rebound them. He is going to body you up. He is going to win that battle. When they are not having to defend that and they don't have that eighth guy in the box and you can zone it and do some things like that, he is not going to run by everybody. But you have to throw it to him covered.

“There are some guys you have to throw it to when covered. They are special players because of their ability to make contested catches and that is what Dez is when he is great.

“Is it a total surprise that he we haven't seen Dak totally solve that puzzle like a veteran like Tony Romo? No. It's going to take time. I know the pressure is on with a decision. But I don't think there is any question that he is still elite. But you have to get him match-ups and throw him the ball where he can fight for it. He is a great fighter for the football.”

Clarence Hill: 817-390-7760, @clarencehilljr

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