The Dallas Cowboys may not shut down Dez Bryant for Week 17 after the wide receiver missed the game on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills while dealing with injuries. The Cowboys are in line for a top draft pick this year and players like Paxton Lynch, Jared Goff, Ezekiel Elliott, Connor Cook, Joey Bosa and Kevin Hogan could be potential targets for Jerry Jones.
The Cowboys are 4-11 on the season and Bryant has been dealing with injuries all season after having foot surgery following Week 1 against the Giants. According to ESPN.com, the Cowboys have not yet decided on ruling out Bryant for the final game of the season, which has the Washington Redskins visiting AT&T Stadium. The Redskins have already clinched the NFC East and the only real thing on the line is the Cowboys record and potential draft pick spot for 2016.
Bryant did not travel with the team for the Bills game while dealing with foot and ankle issues and while there is a chance he could play in Week 17, the team may want to be cautious and hold him out. ESPN reports that executive vice president Stephen Jones said "if he can play, he'll play, but if he can't then he won't" and that the team will "evaluate" things this week. Bryant previously missed time after having foot surgery, but he was able to return in November, although he was clearly not 100 percent while on the field.
Bryant has only had eight catches in his last three games played for the Cowboys and while the team may play him if he is healthy, it's likely that Bryant will be out for Week 17. Jason Garrett said to reporters that Bryant has been dealing with pain in his foot since Thanksgiving and that his ankle injury also has been flaring up. Bryant has played in nine games this season and has averaged just 44 yards per contest.
The Cowboys are in position for a top five draft pick this season and there is a chance at some point they will take a quarterback in 2016. The team was derailed this season by the fact that they did not have a solid backup behind Tony Romo and that could put Jerry Jones in position to take a QB for the future to develop behind Romo. The QB class is fairly deep this season and that could mean a draft pick in one of the later rounds. Jones said to the Dallas Morning News last week that the team needs to "take advantage" of having a top draft pick.
Players like Paxton Lynch, Jared Goff, Connor Cook, Kevin Hogan and Cody Kessler are some of the names that are expected to be available. The QB position is one of need, but the team also could consider RB and WR at the top of the draft, as players like Ezekiel Elliott and Laquon Treadwell are also expected to be available. The team also may consider Joey Bosa, who has been getting attention as a potential top 10 pick.