Where will Dez Bryant land? One ESPN report indicates four teams have interest so far: Cardinals, Ravens, Bills and Packers.
Baltimore has been trying to rebuild its receiving corps. Earlier it signed John Brown and Michael Crabtree. It also signed Ryan Grant, but backed out of the deal when Crabtree became available. Like Bryant, Crabtree is a former No. 1 receiver who’s game has slipped as he’s lost speed.
Buffalo has the league’s leanest receiving group, so that would make sense. But the emphasis there last year was on rebuilding the team’s culture with team-oriented guys. I’m not sure if Bryant would fit what they’re looking for (or if he’s even interested in playing there).
For both Buffalo and Arizona, the No. 1 receivers on those are rosters are like Bryant: big, slow guys who’ve played their best ball – Kelvin Benjamin and Larry Fitzgerald.
Green Bay would be interesting, given Aaron Rodgers’ ability to scramble around and zip the ball into tight spaces. They lost Jordy Nelson, so they need a third receiver to work with Davante Adams and Randall Cobb. Earlier in the offseason, they added Jimmy Graham.
No mention of San Francisco, which I thought might be a decent fit.
Bryant says the Cowboys made no attempt to have him take a pay cut, so there doesn’t seem to be any chance of him winding up back in Dallas.
He says he would like to sign with an NFC East team, giving him the chance to play against Dallas twice per year, but he doesn’t look like a good fit with New York, Philadelphia or Washington. If the Giants trade Odell Beckham, I suppose, that would put them in play.
With Bryant, I think the No. 1 selling point is that you might be getting a hungrier, more motivated player now that he's been kicked to the curb. He'll probably be playing for a contract and will want to prove the Cowboys wrong, and that might make him a lot better than what we've seen the last few years. If he lands on a team with a good No. 1 receiver, that might also allow him to see more favorable coverage situations.
But as the various talking heads discuss Bryant, I’ve heard multiple mentions of him being one of the league’s best red-zone receivers. That’s not the case. Over the last three years, 26 players have seen at least 20 targets when the ball has been inside the 10. Bryant has posted the worst numbers of that grou – 7 of 26, with 6 TDs.
Numbers are below. As usual on this, I’m including 2-point conversions. I’ve got them filed in with the touchdowns. Golden Tate, for example, has caught 8 TDs and a 2-point conversion, so I’ve listed him as 8+1 in that column.
|RECEIVING INSIDE 10 (2015-2017)|
|Golden Tate, Det.||21||17||81%||8+1|
|Jordy Nelson, G.B.||24||18||75%||14|
|Jordan Reed, Wash.||21||15||71%||13|
|Michael Thomas, N.O.||20||14||70%||11|
|Jarvis Landry, Mia.||37||24||65%||14+2|
|Randall Cobb, G.B.||25||15||60%||10+1|
|Antonio Brown, Pitt.||38||22||58%||14+3|
|Davante Adams, G.B.||26||15||58%||9+2|
|Kyle Rudolph, Minn.||30||17||57%||11|
|Delanie Walker, Tenn.||25||14||56%||10+1|
|Eric Decker, NYJ||25||14||56%||9|
|Allen Robinson, Jac.||29||16||55%||14+1|
|Larry Fitzgerald, Ariz.||31||17||55%||11+1|
|DeAndre Hopkins, Hou.||25||13||52%||12+1|
|Alshon Jeffery, Chi.-Phil.||20||10||50%||7+3|
|Rob Gronkowski, N.E.||24||12||50%||9+1|
|Jimmy Graham, Sea.||25||12||48%||10+1|
|A.J. Green, Cin.||23||11||48%||10|
|Michael Crabtree, Oak.||31||14||45%||11+3|
|Demaryius Thomas, Den.||30||13||43%||8+1|
|Julio Jones, Atl.||30||13||43%||7|
|Marvin Jones, Cin.-Det.||21||9||43%||6|
|Jamison Crowder, Wash.||22||9||41%||3+2|
|Mike Evans, T.B.||30||12||40%||9+3|
|Antonio Gates, LAC||24||9||38%||9|
|Dez Bryant, Dall.||26||7||27%||6|