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Mailbag: Can You Pay Dez That Much Despite Limited Touches? Hanna at FB?

Garet Tanaka

Wailuku, HI

I like James Hanna, and I believe the coaches do too. To get him on the field more often, is it inconceivable to put him in a dual-role, and use him as a fullback as well as tight end? I don't think we've had a decent pass-catching fullback since Moose.

Nick: All of the tight ends in this offense are used in a fullback role at some point, including Witten. But to use him as an actual fullback as a lead blocker seems a bit of a stretch, even for Hanna, who is a pretty good blocker. And that's a credit to him because he was drafted as a speedy, pass-catching tight end. So the fact Hanna is even being mentioned for this role is a testament to his ability to grow into this spot. I think the Cowboys have a good role for him that gets him on the field plenty. We've seen John Phillips handle fullback duties in the past so it could happen for a game or two. But I don't see the Cowboys cutting their fullbacks and moving Hanna into the role.

Rob: They've used Hanna and their tight ends in that H-back/fullback role at times, so it's a good thought. But I don't think Hanna's a true fullback. At 6-4 he's a little tall for the job. You need a guy with a lower center of gravity like Tyler Clutts, who has been effective in the role.

John MurrayEl Paso, TX

*It sounds like everyone thinks Dez has earned a big pay-day and Dallas should take care of him. My question is, does an offensive player that touches the ball maybe five times a gamer worth $15 million a season. If Murray touched the ball 15-20 times a game and couldn't garner $7 million a year, what makes Dez worth 15? Are his intangibles worth that price? *

Nick: I think they are. Remember, this is the market for a great receiver. You can't look at the price of these players and compare to the real world. So get that part of your mind. Even in football terms, while it's a lot of money, yes it's worth it. Those five touches a game certainly affect other parts of the field. He might not be catching the ball but when a safety slides over to shadow Dez and the running back rips off a 25-yard run because there is a wide gap in the middle of the field, that's Dez. And yes, the energy and competitive spirit he brings to the team hasn't been felt around here since Michael Irvin. Yes, Dez Bryant is worth every penny he's going to get.

Rob: Couple things: As good as Murray was, he did benefit from the offensive line's blocking up front, and the Cowboys felt they could get production from another back(s) for a cheaper price. Dez is, by most accounts, uncoverable, and when he's doubled he creates opportunities for others. Only a couple other receivers in the league have that skill set. He's also the emotional leader of the team.

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