After eight seasons with the Cowboys, Dez Bryant was released by Dallas, and the three-time Pro Bowl receiver doesn’t appear particularity happy about it.
Cowboy nation I need you to know this wasn’t my decision.. I will always love y’all… forever Dallas in my heart
— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) April 13, 2018
Nonetheless, Bryant faces his first journey as an unrestricted free agent with less than two weeks to go before the draft. At this point in the offseason, many teams have already used up their free-agent budgets, but for a player like Bryant, there will be plenty of suitors.
Here are the top landing spots:
Baltimore has gone after virtually every receiver to hit the market this offseason, seemingly figuring out that Joe Flacco needs good targets to win games. Michael Crabtree and John Brown have joined the squad, but there’s still room for a physical presence like Bryant. The 29-year-old’s fiery style fits with the Ravens’ personality. You can almost see Bryant and Terrell Suggs trash-talking an upcoming opponent in a tandem interview.
The Raiders’ new thing is acquiring big-name players who are past their prime. Marshawn Lynch, Jordy Nelson, Doug Martin – why not Bryant? Jon Gruden has raved about Bryant’s toughness as a broadcaster and is one receiver shy of building a steady three-man starting corps with Nelson and Amari Cooper for Derek Carr to target. The Raiders may have to make some moves to fit Bryant under the salary cap, but they’ve shown willingness to do so by attempting to go for Ndamukong Suh last month.
The Bills dumped Tyrod Taylor, signed AJ McCarron, and will almost certainly try to draft a quarterback in the early rounds next month. Whomever ends up under center will need someone to throw to. The passing game ranked 28th last season. Kelvin Benjamin was a non-factor in six games (16 catches, 217 yards, one TD) and perhaps he could be part of any deal that would free cap space and bring Dez Bryant to Buffalo.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have plenty of cap space and were expected to be favorites to land a top free-agent pass-catcher like Allen Robinson or Sammy Watkins. After falling short, they still have an abundance of cap flexibility, along with a quarterback-head coach combination that seems to be the envy of many players. The 49ers don’t match up against the Cowboys next season, but they remain classic rivals to Dallas and would have a good chance of finishing higher in the NFC with Bryant on board.
Come to Houston bro… @DezBryant
— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) April 13, 2018
Bryant would be able to stay in his home state, have teammates who want him (see above tweet), get a matchup against the Cowboys in 2018, and play with one of the league’s rising stars in Deshaun Watson and an established No. 1 receiver in DeAndre Hopkins.
The Seahawks’ offseason exodus left the club with a lot less star power and personality, not to mention a bare-bones receiver corps for Russell Wilson to work with. Aside from Doug Baldwin, the Seahawks have no receivers who have consistently produced for more than a season, and they’ll need to lean more on their offense going forward than in years past. It may be a case of the Seahawks needing Bryant more than he needs them, but the club has enough cap space to lure him in.
Only three teams can offer Bryant the chance to see the Cowboys twice, and the Redskins have the best shot to land him. The Eagles have even less cap space than the Cowboys and the Giants already have a lightning rod for controversy in Odell Beckham Jr.
Josh Norman and Bryant may have a bitter rivalry in the media, on the field, and even through endorsements, but the Pro Bowl veterans know how good one another can be. Norman said just a week ago he believes Bryant “has a lot left in the tank.” Adding Bryant to the Redskins’ offense alongside Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed, and Paul Richardson would give Alex Smith the best receiver corps he’s ever worked with.