Six potential landing spots for Dez Bryant
The Dallas Cowboys have decided that Dez Bryant is not worth the $16 million salary cap hit he was scheduled to carry in 2018, so they are moving on from the star wide receiver. With at least a handful of teams in need of help at the position, the market for Bryant should be a significant one.
Where Bryant ends up will ultimately depend on how much he wants to be paid and what role he expects to play. If he’s looking for a salary like the one he was making with Dallas, there will be less suitors. If he’s willing to take slightly less money and perhaps even move to the slot a la Larry Fitzgerald, more teams would be interested. Here are a handful that might make sense:
The Redskins were hopeful that Terrelle Pryor would give them a true No. 1 receiver last season to pair with Kirk Cousins, but that did not pan out. With Cousins gone and Alex Smith taking over, Washington still has a need for a true top receiver. They added Paul Richardson this offseason and could sit tight hoping 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson takes a big leap forward, but there is also a chance they could add Bryant in an attempt to stick it to their division rivals.
New York Giants
Two NFC East teams on one list? There still remains a chance the Giants could trade Odell Beckham Jr., especially if the star receiver holds out for a long-term contract extension. Beckham is much younger than Bryant, so he would, in theory, cost a lot more to sign. If the Giants feel they aren’t going to be able to make Beckham happy and can get good value in a trade for him, might they sign Bryant to take his place? For what it’s worth, Dez reportedly told the Cowboys after they released him on Friday that he will “see you guys twice this year.” He might be looking for vengeance.
The Jaguars were able to reach the AFC Championship Game last season despite not having Allen Robinson for the majority of the season, but they lost both Robinson and Allen Hurns in free agency this year. While Jacksonville is going to feature a run-first offense with Leonard Fournette in the backfield and Blake Bortles under center, adding Bryant could make them much more balanced. We already know what the Jags’ defense is capable of, so an offense featuring Fournette and Bryant would make them even more dangerous.
New England Patriots
This one will come down to whether or not Bryant is willing to take a below-market contract, because the Patriots almost certainly wouldn’t want to pay him top receiver money. Still, all indications are that Bryant was not offered a pay cut to remain with the Cowboys, so perhaps he was willing to accept one. Tom Brady was named the MVP of the NFL last year and could find plenty of ways to get Bryant the ball, which is something the Cowboys have not done consistently since Dak Prescott took over as their quarterback. If Dez wants to chase a championship, the defending AFC champs may intrigue him.
The Texans already have one of the best receivers in the game in DeAndre Hopkins, but they also have plenty of salary cap space and a young quarterback who showed the sky is the limit for him during his abbreviated rookie season. If Bryant is willing to not be the No. 1 option in the passing game with his new team, the thought of remaining in Texas — his home state — and playing for an AFC contender with Deshaun Watson might be enticing.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have a decent wide receiver duo with Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon, but look how much they have invested in Jimmy Garoppolo. When an opportunity comes along to surround your young franchise QB with as much talent as possible, it is hard to pass up. The Niners already signed one veteran with plenty to prove when they agreed to a deal with Richard Sherman, so John Lynch may be willing to bring in Bryant to help on the other side of the ball as well. Garoppolo looks like he could become one of the best passers in the NFL, and having Bryant to throw to would make him that much better.