We’re still a month and a half away from NFL training camps opening – so there’s still plenty of time – but it is becoming quite odd that free agent and former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant hasn’t been signed by another NFL team yet.
“I am sure Dez is being thoughtful,” Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I don’t know the details as to why he hasn’t picked a home. I am sure he is being very thoughtful about it.”
Bryant has been all over the map when it comes to saying where he wants to play – first making it clear that he only wanted to play for an NFC East team so that he could face the Cowboys twice a year, then briefly flirting with the Ravens, and most recently saying that he wanted to play for the 49ers on Instagram.
“Thoughtful” about where he wants to play could quickly turn into “panicky,” if this thing goes on any longer.
Laying in the weeds are the Patriots, who suddenly have a formidable wide receiver corps with Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Malcolm Mitchell and Kenny Britt all coming back. Jordan Matthews and Cordarelle Patterson are also expected to be scrapping for playing time.
On paper – at least – the Patriots will have plenty of depth at receiver in 2018. But as Patriots fans have found out time and again – things change rapidly.
In 2013, Tom Brady wound up throwing to the likes of Austin Collie and Aaron Dobson in an AFC championship game loss to the Broncos. In this past Super Bowl loss, Brandin Cooks went down early and Brady had to force throws to Danny Amendola, Hogan and Rob Gronkowski.
Depth at wide receiver, particularly the way the Patriots play these days – is key.
If the market for Bryant truly is lacking, then the Patriots could swoop in soon. Bryant turned down a three-year, $21 million deal from the Ravens and is said to want a one-year, “prove-it” deal. The Pats did a deal like this several years back with Darrelle Revis with a two year deal masked as a one year in which they paid him $12 million in 2014 and had a $20 million option the following year.
Bryant was due to make a base salary of $12 million from the Cowboys in 2018 before they release him.
Bryant, who is still just 29-years-old, had three straight 1,200-plus yard, 12-plus touchdown seasons with the Cowboys from 2012-14 before those numbers started to dip in the past three seasons.
In 2017 with Dallas, Bryant posted 69 catches for 838 yards and six touchdowns.