When the Dallas Cowboys cut Dez Bryant in April, most people expected him to sign with a team fairly quickly. However, it’s mid-July and Bryant’s new team is still unknown. He reportedly turned down a multi-year offer from the Baltimore Ravens because he is looking for a one-year deal with a Super Bowl contender.
For a few years, Bryant was one of the best receivers in the NFL, putting up over 1200 yards and 12 touchdowns in three straight seasons. Although his play has fallen off in the past couple years, he’s still talented and has the ability to be a really good number two receiver on a playoff team. Bryant actually plays his best in the playoffs,
Here are the teams Dez has been linked to, and the team which would offer him the best opportunity.
San Francisco 49ers
San Fran would give Bryant a chance to potentially be the number one receiver and lead a young offense. Last season they struggled mightily in the red zone, one area where Bryant excels. Even though they have a lot of receivers currently on their roster, only Pierre Garcon (and arguably Marquise Goodwin) is proven but he’s coming off a season-ending neck injury.
Bryant has expressed interest in going to the Niners because he would have a big role in the offense. Even though the team probably, won’t truly contend for a Super Bowl title, they still have a good chance to make the playoffs. The 49ers would give Dez Bryant a chance to prove he’s still a top receiver and cash in the following offseason.
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers’ return immediately turns the Packers back into playoff contenders. Further, they have added solid defensive players, led by Muhammad Wilkerson, which makes them a true Super Bowl threat. If Bryant acclimates to Rodgers spreading the ball around, he could fit in as their number two receiver right away.
On one hand, the Packers would give Bryant the opportunity to be a contributor on a championship contender. On the other, he would improve the Packers’ offense by giving them a second receiver on the outside with the ability to make contested catches. Rodgers’ receiving corps would include a budding star in Davante Adams, along with Jimmy Graham, Randall Cobb and Bryant.
This would force defenses to pay attention to the entire field and make Rodgers even more difficult to defend. Further, if Randall Cobb’s production continues to dip, Davante Adams is likely to play more snaps in the slot. Signing Dez would ensure that the Packers have a consistent deep threat on the outside even if that occurs.
New Orleans Saints
New Orleans has been a popular prediction for Bryant’s new team. They are definitely in a position to play for a Super Bowl title and could use someone like Bryant, a big receiver on the outside who makes contested catches. Additionally, Sean Payton has shown a penchant for bringing in players like Adrian Peterson and Champ Bailey who used to star in the league. The difference here is that Bryant is still only 29 and can be valuable, to an extent, on the field.
If Bryant signs with the Saints, he would be on a team that he knows can win a championship. He would also be with a quarterback in Drew Brees who, like Rodgers, he can trust to be accurate and make the right decisions.
The only roadblock in this situation is the amount of playing time the Saints would be willing to give Bryant. They have a legitimate number one in Michael Thomas and a speedy deep threat in Ted Ginn Jr. In addition, they have 26 year-old Brandon Coleman, who Brees said is “one of my favorite teammates” and someone who Brees “has a ton of confidence in.” Sean Payton will want to give snaps to Coleman as well as third-round rookie Tre’Quan Smith.
The Saints could still be an option for Dez Bryant if he’s willing to sacrifice some snaps. He would be on a great team and have a Hall of Fame quarterback throwing him the ball.
New England Patriots
Bryant catching touchdowns from. . . Tom Brady? Bryant’s new team is probably going to be a championship contender. The Patriots have that covered. He wants to have a significant role in the offense. New England would definitely play him a lot opposite of Julian Edelman and would use him a lot in the red zone. Bryant wants to sign a one-year deal to prove himself to the league. New England would most likely want to sign him to a short contract anyway.
While the Patriots could seem like the perfect scenario for Bryant, he is very open about how he feels about his team and involvement, whether positive or negative. He could have a difficult time meshing with Bill Belichick and the style he runs his team.
Dez Bryant’s New Team (Best Choice)
San Francisco wants their young players like second-round pick Dante Pettis to develop, which requires playing time. Bryant also may not want to end up with a team that is young and not in the top tier yet. New Orleans may not want to bring in a receiver known for blowing up about not being involved enough.
New England could be a great scenario for Bryant. He would have an easier path to the Super Bowl and would be a big part of the offense. However, even if Bryant changes how he acts to fit in Bill Belichick’s strict system, neither party has expressed a desire to make this happen. The Patriots are a dark horse, but as of now, this is an unlikely scenario.
That leaves Green Bay as Bryant’s best possible destination. He would be able to play meaningful games in January and would be guaranteed an important role on the team. People, including Aaron Rodgers, have questioned why the Packers would cut Jordy Nelson and sign Bryant. But it seems as if Bryant is willing to accept a pay cut that Nelson wasn’t. If that is the case, Bryant’s new team should be the Green Bay Packers.
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