It’s not likely that Dez Bryant will remain a free agent for long, and the top team on the shortlist of those looking to sign him is the Baltimore Ravens, although Bryant himself might prefer, for now, to stay in the NFC East.
Releases from the Dallas Cowboys after 8 seasons, most of them successful although not much recently, Bryant is rumored to be hoping to get offers from the New York Giants, Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles or the Washington Redskins. The Oakland Raiders is another team he’d be interesting in trying.
But for now, it seems like Baltimore is where he’ll end up, potentially forming an interesting partnership with Michael Crabtree. signing a 3-year deal with the team last month. Crabtree has one more year in the league over Bryant, and played 3 years with the Raiders before joining the Ravens.
Bryant was released from the Cowboys due to the potential cap hit, which was $17 million last season. He’s not going to make that much money in Baltimore, who have a bit more than $10 million in cap space to work with, and that’s before their draft picks come in. Crabtree himself costs $21 million over the 3 years, $11 million of them guaranteed. His cap hit in 2018 is $3.3 million.
Whether or not they can afford him is one question. The other is which Bryant they’ll receive. Between 2012 and 2014 Bryant was one of the most productive wide receivers in the NFL, averaging 91 receptions, 1312 yards and 14 touchdowns a season, including an NFL-best 16 in 2014. But he missed quite a few games in 2015 and 2016, along with a disappointing 2017, averaging 50 receptions, 678 yards and 6 touchdowns over the last 3 year stretch.
Maybe a change of quarterback and environment would do him some good, but it would be unwise to expect a Pro Bowl level player at this point of his career, which is why he won’t be paid like one anymore too.