The 2018 NFL offseason has brought us plenty to chatter about with teams implicating their tactics to reinforce their rosters. In the Professional Sports universe, like many things in life, productivity is something we are measured by. If a person can’t produce at an expected level at their job, are employers lining up to give promotions and raises?
Although we as fans feel like we grow closer to players on our respective teams, truth be these players aren’t guaranteed always to be wearing the colors of the franchises we pull for. This week, we learned this more to be true as we saw a Dallas star and a fan favorite, leave the gates in his Black Bentley for the final time, but this certainly won’t be the last time the 8th year pro will see “Jerry World”
Dez Bryant leaving The Star pic.twitter.com/gdBVlsv7n2
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) April 13, 2018
In the Dallas Cowboy record books, you can find Bryant at the top of the list in receiving touchdowns with 73. The former Oklahoma State wide receiver surpassed Bob ” Bullet” Hayes 71 touchdowns, on a 4th quarter fade route from Dak Prescott helping the pass catcher cement his name atop the Dallas records. While the touchdown reception was celebrated by Bryant and teammates, it was much anticipated as No. 88 had tied Hayes record back on October 22nd, and it was five games later he finally broke it. A five-game stretch where Bryant failed to record a touchdown reception, was somewhat vindicated with the catch, but inconsistency was starting to become something fans in Big D were growing accustomed to.
A 113 game sample size, saw the prolific receiver accumulate 7,459 yards on 531 receptions. The “Prime” in his career can be categorized between the 2012-2014 seasons, where he had +1200 yards and double-digit touchdowns consecutively in those three years. In that time span, the young Bryant was healthy and didn’t miss any games, in his early years he only missed five games in his first five seasons. After the three breakout years, Bryant was in line to sign a 5-year $70 million extension giving him optimism he would remain in Dallas for years to come. At the time, Bryant wanted to be the highest paid receiver in the NFL, but the contract designated him second behind Calvin Johnson who was making $16.2 million a year to Bryant’s $14 million.
The last three years of his Cowboy tenure saw him deal with multiple injuries that kept him out of a combined 10 games, twice as much of his previous five seasons. A decline in all receiving categories, accompanied by what many say a lack of concentration, has the talented Bryant, looking at his success as a top receiver in the rearview.
What Now For Dez?
If I didn’t have my edge I got it now… I’m sorry they got to feel me it’s personal… it’s very personal
— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) April 13, 2018
Dez walked out saying I'll see guys twice this year, I'm told. So that's that.
— Mickey Spagnola (@Spags52) April 13, 2018
The Cowboy’s former pass catcher has voiced his thoughts publicly after being handed the pink slip Friday.
Here are a few teams, that make sense as a landing spot for Bryant.
Out of the candidates in the NFC East, the Redskins have the most salary cap with $17.1 million available. The question is how much of a gamble would owner Dan Snyder take on a regressing career plagued by injuries as of late. Adding Bryant would add to the current receiving corp of Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, and newly acquired Paul Richardson.
New York Giants
While the sound of it is sexy, I’m not to sure this would be the best move for a franchise in need of “locker room” guy. Adding him as a No. 2 to compliment ODB, would be lethal, as Brandon Marshall failed to meet the expectations from when he was signed.
Dangerous, with a unit led by Alshon Jeffery and that lost Torrey Smith and tight end Trey Burton. But the truth is the Eagles have the least cap space available in the league, and to make this work, they would have to move some pieces around. Why would Philidelphia take a risk on such a gamble, knowing what they had last year worked? Changing the roster around for Bryant isn’t ideal for a complete team.
Outside of the division, you get a few better options
With Jacksonville losing both of is top targets this offseason, they will be looking for someone to fill the void of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. The duo accounted for 144 receptions in 2015 and 108 in 2016. Last year Robinson went down in the first game, paving the way for Marquis Lee and Keelan Cole to lead the receiving corps with a combined 98 receptions. There will be plenty of action in Jacksonville for Dez to get in on, tacked on to the swagger the Jaguars carry, this might be a perfect fit. At least Blake Bortles hopes for.
All aboard the Jimmy Garoppolo hype train and San Francisco’s golden boy will need some weapons to accommodate that $137.5 million contract. A receiving group led by breakout Marquise Goodwin and his 56/962/2 campaign, the Niners could surely use some help. While Garoppolo had much success in his little time, something he was lacking was the ability to finish drives, and much has to do with his pass catchers abilities. Goodwin, a speedster almost put up a 1,000-yard season, but only got into the end zone twice, one coming on an 83-yard catch and run. The leading pass catcher on the team in touchdowns was backup Tight end Garrett Celek, who reeled in only four scores. Pierre Garcon is there also and acts as the physical receiver, but Bryant can certainly boost the offense, giving the team some attitude and experience.
With quarterback Joe Flacco coming into his 11th year, the addition could revive the career of the descending veteran. Coming off one of his worst years in touchdowns and yards, the Ravens added Michael Crabtree in the offseason. Crabtree is coming off his second worse season in yards but still managed to score eight touchdowns.
Adding a physical receiver to the roster that isn’t afraid to catch balls over the middle, would extend the role of Crabtree on the outside on deep balls, and work in progress Breshad Perriman could learn a ton from an experienced veteran like Bryant. The Ravens have made it no secret over the years that a reliable wideout is what they are seeking to complement Flacco. In the past six drafts, the Ravens have selected seven wide receivers, and in 2017, only two were still on the roster. The organization knows what it wants, but they have had bad luck of late with the position.
It will be interesting where Bryant ultimately lands, but one thing is for sure, a grit and fight type of attitude he will always bring with him.