Last week, it was reported that both the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks offered Lebron James a contract in 2011. At this point, Lebron was twenty-six and in his eighth season in the NBA, and had not yet won an NBA championship.
We have seen players switch sports before. Michael Jordan left the NBA to play baseball. Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson played in the MLB and NFL. Maybe Lebron does the same and never wins an NBA championship, but rather wins a Super Bowl. This begs the question: what could have been?
Standing at 6’9, Lebron would have been the biggest wide receiver in the NFL. For those of you saying Lebron would have played tight end, he then would have been the biggest tight end in the league. In both scenarios, he is the biggest receiving threat on the field at any time. With his prior experience at receiver in high school, he would have likely continued to play at receiver. Now let’s see some scenarios.
The following scenarios are as if he played in the 2012 season.
Lebron James: The Star Of America’s Team
If Lebron had accepted the Cowboys contract offer, he would be joining Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, and Dez Bryant, making the most dominant offense in the league. Without Lebron, the team went 8-8 and finished third in the division. At the time, the Cowboys had a middle-of-the-road defense and their offense was top three in passing and bottom five in rushing. The addition of Lebron would have only furthered that, and undoubtedly added wins.
There were four games that the Cowboys lost by a touchdown or less and nobody can convince me the offense couldn’t drive down the field with Lebron AND Dez. Say they did win those four games. They finish 13-3 and secure a bye week. This takes the Vikings out of the playoffs. Following that is the Seahawks playing the 49ers, who played the Ravens in the Super Bowl.
It’s a reasonable assumption that Lebron being added to the Cowboys creates a new dynasty and likely adds a championship to the Cowboys trophy case and allows Dez to play longer.
Lebron James: Russell Wilson’s New Favorite Target
At this point, Russell Wilson had Golden Tate and Sidney Rice as his number one and two receivers. Similar to the Cowboys, adding Lebron to the Seahawks creates another dominant offense. Lebron takes wide receiver one, Russell Wilson QB1, and none other than Marshawn Lynch heads the backfield. This season Marshawn Lynch had 1,590 yards and averaged five yards per carry. On top of that, he found the endzone eleven times. In 2012 Russell was only a rookie. Surely giving a rookie the biggest target in the league would have eased the growing pains.
The eventual receiving corps would have been Lebron James, Doug Baldwin, and Jermaine Kearse. A group that would have wreaked havoc on the league for at least eight seasons. Without Lebron, the team decimated the Broncos in the 2014 Super Bowl. It’s a safe bet Lebron adds a trophy to that case.
Lebron James: The Greatest Receiver Of All Time?
In recent history, we fans haven’t seen a receiver with his height and weight since Harold Carmichael. The biggest receiver currently in the NFL is Mike Evans, who stands at 6’5. Add four more inches and nineteen pounds and you have Lebron. Now, the NFL isn’t the same as it was when Harold played, and Lebron is likely a better athlete than Mike Evans. If he found the right team, he could have ended as the most dominant receiver ever. Maybe even the greatest.
The most comparable player I can think of that compares to how Lebron would have played is Calvin Johnson. In Calvin’s nine-year career, he totaled nearly 12,000 yards and 83 touchdowns; Calvin was four inches shorter than Lebron. Imagine a league where Calvin wasn’t the biggest receiver in the league.
Say Lebron didn’t accept the offers from the Seahawks or Cowboys but rather sought out a contract from his favorite team; the Cleveland Browns. The Browns were led in receiving by Josh Gordon, who isn’t a small target (6’3) when it comes to NFL standards. Lebron could have changed the direction of his favorite team and made a name for himself as a multi-sport athlete. While the odds of him winning a championship would be much lower, the storyline would have been awesome.