There is no doubting Bryant’s talent. He showed as a rookie that he can make plays only a handful of wide receivers can make. But he missed the preseason with an ankle injury. He suffered a myriad of injuries that did not keep him out of games but kept him from practicing. He is coming off a fractured ankle that cost him the last four games of the season.
Recently he has had these off-field mishaps that individually do not mean that much but collectively become tiresome.
If anybody needs the lockout to end it is Bryant. He needs the structure. But it does not appear the lockout will end soon or at least before the draft.
So, say you’re the Cowboys at No. 9 in the first round and A.J. Green or Julio Jones are staring you in the face, do you take either big-play wide receiver with that pick? If you say, no, then do you take a receiver in the second or third rounds?
The idea is for Bryant to start opposite Miles Austin in 2011 and Williams to serve as the No. 3 receiver if William remains on the roster. In effect, Williams was that guy last year even if he still was introduced as a starter.
Williams’ $9.48 million cap figure is too heavy for a No. 3 receiver, but the Cowboys do not know if they can rely on Bryant. He has been hurt. He has a tardiness issue. He has an attentiveness issue as well. If the Cowboys let Williams go, then they have Kevin Ogletree as the next-best option currently on the roster. Remember, Sam Hurd was not tendered and would be free to sign with another team once a new collective bargaining agreement is in place.
Talent wins out most of the time in the NFL. Teams will be as patient as possible, especially with a player as talented as Bryant, but the smart teams also have a backup plan in place.
The Cowboys should have a plan ready.