Recently, Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones (the son of owner Jerry Jones) said of his high price wide receiver Dez Bryant, who signed a five-year, $70 million deal in 2015, that sometimes he is a distraction (via A.J. Perez of USA Today).


The 2018 free agency period will soon be upon the San Francisco 49ers, and discussion has surfaced amongst the Forty-Niner Faithful of wanting the 49ers to take a flier on Bryant (if he were released/cap causality by the Cowboys) because of his past reputation of being a star player. He has a reputation of being a big red zone threat that muscled 50/50 balls away from defensive backs for touchdowns, taking a quick slant to the house and, at times, stretching defenses downfield (as seen in his top 10 plays of his career).

Looking at his career stats at a glance


Bryant is a three-time Pro Bowler standing at 6'2", and 225 lbs., a wide receiver that's appeared in 113 games; starting 99 of those contests. Bryant has missed 10 games since 2015. He's accounted for 531 catches and 7,459 yards on 909 targets at 14.0 yards per catch with 73 career touchdowns. His 2017 numbers left much to be desired; 69 catches for 838 yards and six touchdowns.

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Dez Bryant is on the decline


Bryant will turn 30 years old in November and is averaging 678 yards over the past three years after averaging 1,312 in the previous three years prior to signing his five-year, $70 million deal. His Pro Football Focus Grades: 75.2 overall, 75.2 receiving, 57.8 run, 64.8 run blocking on 893 total snaps ( ranking him the 47th best receiver ). Consider this: Since 2014, Bryant has 17 drop passes; six in 2017 (via Foxsports.com).

Stephen Jones on Bryant's production:

"He knows when you get paid that kind of money, there's high expectations in terms of the productivity."

Former NFL wide receiver Greg Jennings' message to Bryant:

"Take a pay cut to stay in Dallas."

What if he refuses to take a pay cut? What if that's not an option or is it a leverage/contract renegotiation ploy by the Cowboys to force Bryant into submission to reconstruct his contract? It may or may not be. Now without further ado, back to the breakdown on Bryant…

Fellow Hall of Famers, wide receiver Cris Carter and tight end Shannon Sharp, have called out Bryant in the past for his lack of production and performance.

"There was only 59 players targeted 90 times this season. Dez is the absolute worst…[He] only caught 52% of those passes. The worst in the NFL. The worst!" Carter exclaimed during a segment of FS1's Undisputed on Thursday. "…Listen. I've done some work with Dez and his people and everything. Dez wants someone to be a fan. He wants someone to pat him on the back. But the truth of the matter is as far as people they targeted 90 times this year, Dez Bryant is the worst in the NFL!"

In my recent article on the 49ers Webzone, I called out Allen Robinson for having a low catching percentage of 51.3 between 2015 and 2016, which was even worse than Bryant when he was targeted a whopping 302 times.

Also, it's important to note that Bryant was criticized by Pro Football Focus for not being amongst the good route runners (in the NFL) and being unable to run the full route tree. Something Carter previously mentioned in the video on Undisputed and New York Giants' defensive back Janoris Jenkins who appeared on a radio show to blast Bryant for the same issue -- an inability to run routes.

Bryant's major career injuries at a glance:

  • 2016-Knee Patella Fracture: a hairline fracture in his knee during Week 3 action. He missed significant practice time as a result.
  • Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1: Bryant suffered a concussion in a preseason practice sidelining him for two preseason games.
  • 2015-Pedal Foot Fracture: Bryant aggravated his fractured foot and required another surgery in the offseason.
  • Pedal Foot Fracture: Bryant fractured his foot and had to have surgery. He missed the following seven games.
  • Thigh Hamstring Strain Grade 2: Pulled his hamstring and missed several practice sessions during the preseason program including the four preseason games.
  • 2010-Leg Fibula Fracture: Fractured his fibula earning him a spot on the IR for the remaining five games of the season.

Should the 49ers consider WR Dez Bryant with his Distractions and Decline in Production?


Based on the evidence provided in this article, and from Hall of Famers and current competitors that have played against Bryant, as well as Executive Vice President Stephen Jones calling Bryant a distraction, in my opinion, the 49ers shouldn't go in this direction. When General Manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have a young roster trying to embrace and establish a culture of sacrificing for the betterment of the team, hard work, dedication and winning without distractions (see Reuben Foster article), the addition does not make sense.

Sequoia Sims: Founder of Niners Live, Content Creator, player breakdown specialist, and Senior Author. The home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, and different perspective, of course.