Wide Receiver Dez Bryant was on a fast track to becoming the greatest wide receiver in Dallas Cowboys history. In three consecutive seasons from 2012-14, he posted at least 88 catches and 1,200 receiving yards. During the 2014 season, he was arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL, as he led the league with 16 touchdowns and made All-Pro.
But that was four years ago. Quarterback changes, injuries and his poor attitude led to his demise with the Cowboys. And with training camps set to open within the next several days, Bryant doesn’t even have a job.
He is far from the dominant All-Pro receiver he once was, but Bryant could certainly help a team win in 2018. Here are three NFL teams that could sign the former Cowboys wideout.
Three Teams That Should Consider Signing Free Agent Wide Receiver Dez Bryant
The Panthers have been lacking a legitimate number one wide receiver since trading Kelvin Benjamin for a pair of picks last fall. The team is expecting former second-rounder Devin Funchess to become a bigger part of the offense in 2018, but questions remain whether he can carry the load in a dynamic offense.
Carolina also has several question marks behind Funchess at receiver. Veteran Torrey Smith is competing with rookie and first-round pick D.J. Moore to start opposite Funchess. Veteran Jarius Wright and second-year receiver Curtis Samuel will also be in the mix.
Considering the Panthers top receiving target is tight end Greg Olsen, perhaps the Carolina receiving corps is already too crowded for Bryant. But right now, none of these names are receivers opposing defenses are too concerned with or need to double cover. Therefore, Bryant might be worth the flier.
Bryant said this week that he only wants to play for a contender. While the Bills did make the playoffs last season, they lost quarterback Tyrod Taylor and are heading into camp with the relatively inexperienced A.J. McCarron or Nathan Peterman as their likely starter (or rookie Josh Allen). Bryant might not sign to play in upstate New York even if the Bills are interested.
Regardless, they should be interested. The aforementioned Benjamin and second-year wideout Zay Jones are in line to start, but the Bills could use depth at the position. And Jones is recovering from off-season knee surgery and had an extremely disappointing rookie season.
Bryant could step in and become the most reliable pass catcher of the Bills offense and help either of the young quarterbacks grow.
The Baltimore Ravens are an obvious choice to be on this list, but Bryant already turned down a multi-year offer from the Ravens. In addition to wanting to play for a contender, Bryant reportedly wants a one-year deal, and the Ravens apparently only wanted Bryant if he signed a three-year contract.
After having a plethora of wide receivers for a long time, the Colts are pretty thin at the position. Besides T.Y. Hilton, the Colts are counting on Chester Rogers, Ryan Grant or Deon Cain to be Andrew Luck’s other main wide receiver target.
None of those wideouts have recorded more than 600 yards in an individual season.
Again, there’s a question mark as to whether Bryant would play for a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs in four years. But the return of Luck should turn the Colts back into at least a playoff contender.
In all likelihood, though, Bryant is going to hold out until all his requirements are fulfilled. It may take an injury to a star receiver in order for Bryant to receive the contract he truly seeks.