Dez Bryant has been labeled a childish teen in a man’s body, but his latest bravado says this man understands both the game, and the game.
According to various reports, our favorite wide receiver says he is contemplating pulling an Emmitt Smith and will skip the Cowboys’ first regular-season game on Sept. 13 vs. the New York Giants.
Yeah — I don’t believe him either. No one is throwing away more than $750K, but in this fight, we should all be fans of Dez Bryant.
We can’t run like Dez, jump like Dez or catch a ball like Dez, but most of America at some point has been in this fight like Dez. If you can put the absurd dollar figure aside for a moment, most of us either are, or have been, Dez Bryant.
Most of us want more when our employer says insincerely “Sorry” when we know it’s right there.
Dez — go get yours. Squeeze as hard as you can, try to scare them, because they would do the same thing to you. All we do now in America is squeeze each other as hard as possible in the name of extracting any loose change, so no one from Jerry Jones to the ticket-paying customer should ask Dez to be above it.
Today marks the start of the Cowboys’ three-day minicamp, which Dez is not contractually obligated to attend. He shouldn’t.
Unlike the time Emmitt held out for two games in 1993, the attitude toward pro jocks in their quest for more millions has tilted to the player. Or it should.
It used to be we were all collectively supporting ownership and their efforts to put the team and winning over the demands of the individual because it sounds pure and innocent. That somehow they would pass the “savings” down to us. Now, we know what a lie that was.
Once, we all bought into the fact that the employee should simply be grateful. Since then, we have all come to learn, repeatedly, that greed has taken over. It does not alter the enjoyment of watching a good game, but it is a reality.
In our “post-recession” world, every employer squeezes the rank-and-file, further creating a gap between the haves and have-nots with the attitude of “Do you know how lucky you are to even have a job?”
Unlike most of us, Dez has real leverage. With all due respect to Terrance Williams, there are not many Dez Bryants on this earth.
His boss is older with a long memory, and he does not want to upset his chances at a potential run to the Super Bowl.
In ’93, Emmitt Smith held out for more cash. The team trotted out rookie Derrick Lassic as the starter, because anybody could run behind that Great Wall of Dallas. Sounds a little like DeMarco Murray leaving and being replaced by Joseph Randle/Darren McFadden.
The Cowboys started the ’93 season 0-2, which included a three-point home loss to Buffalo. Linebacker Charles Haley snapped in the locker room after losing to the Bills, throwing his helmet in the vicinity of Jerry and screaming, “We’re never gonna win with this [bleeping] rookie!”
Four days later, Jerry made Emmitt the highest-paid running back in the NFL. In turn, he led the NFL in rushing despite playing only 14 games, and the Cowboys won their second consecutive Super Bowl.
The type of leverage Dez seeks will come with losing more than $1 million, and his team losing some games. He does not want any part of either scenario. If by some miracle Dez sits out and the Cowboys open the season with consecutive losses against the Giants and Eagles, you better know Jerry will be at Dez’s house with a loaded Brink’s truck.
Most of this chatter is just contract posturing, but we are approaching the point when this is about to get real. The Cowboys have until July 15 to finalize a long-term deal with Eighty-Eight before the one-year franchise tag salary of $12.8 million they applied takes effect.
Dez has done right by the Cowboys by voluntarily showing up at the team’s practice facility a few times this off-season despite the fact he does not have to. He should not.
If they aren’t paying you, don’t do it. They are counting on your guilt and your inner desire to play.
Jerry Jones is fond of saying, “Never let your money get mad.” Dez is not letting his money get mad. He is doing what any one of us would try to do in a similar situation — he’s trying to get his.
We can’t run, jump or catch like this Dez but, on this one, we’re all Dez Bryant. Go get it.
Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7697
Twitter: @macengelprof and The Big Mac Blog