After the yearly NFL trade deadline passes, there usually isn’t too much going on in terms of game-changing transactions. Sure, teams cut veterans loose and allow them to latch on with other squads or get ready for the upcoming free agency period. Some players are cut once others are ready to return from injury, some become injured and cause their teams to hit the market for replacements, etc. Nevertheless, being that the NFL is a truly unpredictable league, things happen. A thing happened earlier:
Keep that same energy
— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) November 7, 2018
*16 hours later*
— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) November 7, 2018
In about a day’s worth of time, former Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant secured a workout with the Saints, traveled to New Orleans to conduct the workout, and agreed with the team on a one-year deal that the 30-year-old will sign on Thursday. Although Bryant’s new salary is currently unknown, he is most likely just thankful to have received an offer and be able to step onto the field again.
After being cut by the Dallas Cowboys on April 13 due to a combination of reasons (large salary, inconsistent production, and injury concerns to name a few), Bryant had long voiced his interest in returning to the league. After speculation swirled about Bryant potentially joining the New England Patriots over the course of the last month or so, Bryant has finally found a new home.
Bryant shouldn’t be the only one happy that this move was made. Drew Brees remains a frontrunner for MVP (2,336 yards, 18 TD/1 INT) despite having his second-leading receiver be his running back, Alvin Kamara. With WR Tedd Ginn Jr. on injured reserve, TE Benjamin Watson set to turn 38 in December and receivers Tre’Quan Smith & Cameron Meredith functioning as models of inconsistency, the team could use another option.
Bryant joins the league’s 7th-ranked passing offense in both touchdowns and yards per game as a big-bodied weapon for Brees so throw to. Being on a prove-it deal with free agency four months away, Bryant has every incentive to make the most of this opportunity.
Struggling with injuries over the last few seasons (played hurt in 2017, missed three games in 2016 & nine in 2015), multiple months where he could just focus on getting in game shape should help Bryant’s cause. Hauling in 69 passes for 838 yards and a half-dozen touchdowns last season, the Cowboys decided it was time to move on from their former #1 star WR. Much like running backs, receivers tend to experience a huge dip in production once they turn 30. Celebrating his 30th birthday just a few days ago and having the first half of the season off, we will get a feel for where Bryant is health-wise very early on.
How big of an impact will Bryant have on this team? It’s hard to tell. The third option at best behind stars Michael Thomas and the aforementioned Kamara, don’t expect the Oklahoma State product to wow anyone numbers-wise. Though he’d probably like to put up multiple 100+ yard games and score touchdowns left and right, this isn’t why Bryant was brought in. He’ll likely have to compete with Watson and other TE Josh Hill, along with the WR duo of Meredith & Smith, for targets. While Drew Brees is in a completely different world than Dak Prescott in terms of quarterbacking, he can only spread the love so much.
This move benefits both sides. Bryant gets a chance to show the world he’s still got it and can produce in a different system. Drew Brees gets yet another toy to play with – a red-zone option and someone who (at 6’2″ and 220 pounds) doesn’t need speed/finesse to make his presence felt. Bryant can make difficult catches, play a physical brand of football and make one of the top-three offenses in the NFL even scarier than it already was. With 73 touchdowns to his resume, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have him on your team.
Will Dez Bryant throw up the ‘X’ anytime soon? Who knows. How many times will he do so? Again, no one is certain about it. With a newfound source of motivation, some time off and a future Hall of Fame QB tossing balls his way, this is his best shot to resurrect what was once a promising career. One thing is for sure, though: the New Orleans Saints just got a bit more terrifying on paper, something the rest of the NFL should be on notice about.