By Michael Donovan

Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys blinked.

They had to.

After letting NFL rushing king DeMarco Murray walk away in free agency to the Eagles, it was imperative that they sign their remaining offensive force.

With the five-year, $70 million deal, receiver Dez Bryant should be plenty happy. And a happy Bryant makes for some happy Cowboys.

It’s not that Bryant wouldn’t have given the same effort if he had to play the season on the $12.823 million franchise tag, but he might have wondered what else he had to do to get long-term security from the only team he has known and the only team he has truly wanted to play for.

In recent days, Bryant had said he would boycott the upcoming training camp and miss regular season games until he got a deal.

That’s why Jones blinked.

The Cowboys’ offense would have been OK without Bryant. Tony Romo has made it work with receivers at all levels since becoming the Cowboys’ starting quarterback. The offensive line would have been good enough to make things just good enough.

But Bryant changes the dynamic of the offense.

He can score from anywhere on the field. There are few receivers in the NFL like that.

As coach Jason Garrett likes to say, defenses know where No. 88 is on every play, and they do as much as they can to slow him down.

Without Bryant, those running lanes would have been smaller. The Cowboys can tout the offseason progress of Terrance Williams and the development of Devin Street, but they don’t force defenses to keep the safeties deep.

Bryant does.


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