The NFL experience as a wide receiver varies significantly from player to player. Some have the talent, drive, and fortune to reach stardom racking up 1,000 plus yards and double-digit touchdowns, while the majority struggle to maintain a steady job year after year.
But 30-year-old Dez Bryant has encompassed the Hannah Montana mantra – getting the best of both worlds.It feels like it was just yesterday that the Dallas Cowboys, in a crossroads, opted to ink Bryant to a 5 year/$70 million contract in a move that forced the ‘Boys to part ways with Pro Bowl RB Demarco Murray.
“There was never a doubt in my mind that we wanted a long-term deal with Dez,” said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in 2015, three years before Bryant was ultimately dropped by Dallas to save the team $8.5 million in salary cap space. The move was equally beneficial to their young QB Dak Prescott by saving him the headache of listening to the diva for another season.
In his last couple years in Dallas, Bryant pulled out his superstar status demanding that he needed to get the damn ball. His frustrations on the sideline became FOX, CBS, NBC, and ESPN’s main attraction in their broadcasts. But, in the end, his cries to get more targets only resulted in an increase in inaccurate passes from Prescott and dropped passes from Bryant.
Surprisingly, after his 2018 release Bryant was not immediately picked up by any team, partly due to his one-track mind of signing with a contender. Well, his prayers went unanswered in May, then June, then July, and sure enough, Dez Bryant, the once X-throwing, superstar, was entering the season as a free agent. Whether Bryant’s immense talent was worth his demanding personality was put to question, and NFL general managers everywhere answered with a hard “No.”
It wasn’t until November that the 7-1 New Orleans Saints put his past outbursts aside to sign him to their championship worthy roster. And in the most anti-climactic fashion, Bryant tore his Achilles tendon two days after signing, not once suiting up in black and gold.
So where does this leave the recovering, ill-tempered, and talented receiver? In the same exact spot as he was this time last season, except now injury concerns can only make it more difficult for him to find a new home. There really are just two circumstances in which Bryant finds himself on an NFL roster this upcoming season.
The first scenario derives from desperation. An injury-ridden wide-out corps would be reasonable grounds to sign the veteran. But only a team with serious aspirations to make a run this season would pull the trigger on such a signing. The same goes for a team who appears to have all the pieces, but needs serious help at receiver. The other scenario is exactly what happened last season: a likely playoff team adds Bryant as ammunition late in the season.
So, which teams fit these credentials? The New England Patriots would be an interesting fit if they suddenly feel insecure at the receiver spot. It could potentially be the Seattle Seahawks, who are still weak at that position despite drafting DK Medcalf. The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers are teams looking to rise next season, both of whom are lacking at receiver. But regardless as to where he ends up, if he finds himself a team, it is clear that Bryant’s behavior and attitude has and will continue to hinder his attractiveness as a free agent.