Dez Bryant has been officially released by the Dallas Cowboys. They waited until April 13th to make the decision, and now Bryant is hitting the market relatively late in the game. That said, there are still teams with plenty of cap space to fit Bryant, depending on his asking price and his motivations.
For example, there’s this:
We know that veterans like to go to division rivals to try to get revenge, but neither the Giants or Eagles have the requisite cap space. Unless his desire for revenge leaves him wanting to take a minimal one-year deal, I don’t see the fit with those two. If his goal is to get to the best team, or the best QB situation, then that may take him to a situation where he doesn’t play the Cowboys this year.
Bryant, at this point, is a red zone/possession guy, and would be best paired with a team that could utilize and maximize his red zone production, while complementing him with other speed threats. After looking through the cap situations and receiver depth charts, here are five teams I think it makes the most sense to explore adding Bryant.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: We know that New England is always willing to dabble in the veteran wide receiver market, and has varied success with guys being cast off from other teams, ranging from Randy Moss to Chad Ochocinco. The Rob Gronkowski situation is still lingering as well, while the team traded Brandin Cooks away for a first round pick, Danny Amendola is gone, and Julian Edelman is coming off a major injury. The allure of playing with Tom Brady has to be strong, and the Patriots have enough cap space to get creative and make a deal work.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: The Colts have a ton of cap space. They also have turnover in the receiving corp, with Donte Moncrief gone, and Ryan Grant as the current 2nd receiver. Bryant would be a good complement to smaller speed guys in Grant and T.Y. Hilton and provide an instant red zone threat if Andrew Luck makes it back. Bonus: the Colts play the Cowboys this year.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: The 49ers also have plenty of cap space, though the amount they have used has been already disproportionately allocated to the offensive skill positions. Still, we saw Jimmy Garoppolo make an instant impact. He put up a ton of yards in his final five games, but the offense often faltered in the red zone. Bryant would be that red zone security blanket for Jimmy G, and a complement to Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS: Of the NFC East rivals, Washington is the one that makes the most sense, as they’ve turned over the receiving corp from last year and added Alex Smith in place of Kirk Cousins. Washington would be borderline on having cap room and whether they’d want to use most of it on a receiver, after adding Paul Richardson. Dez might have them on his wish list and it’s a matter of whether the feeling is mutual. I’m putting this on here not because I personally think it would be a good idea but because I could see it happening in a train wreck way as Bryant wants to stay in division.
GREEN BAY PACKERS: A guy can dream, can’t he? This would be outside the operating pattern of the last decade for the Packers, but Aaron Rodgers has to be pushing for this, and we’ve seen some public cracks in his acceptance of changes in Green Bay recently. Green Bay has the cap space to make it happen, and lost Jordy Nelson (though Davante Adams and Randall Cobb are still there, you can accommodate all three on the field in the offense).
NOTE: Oakland would have to a consideration based on Jon Gruden’s affinity for veteran receivers; Seattle would make sense from a roster standpoint after losing Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson, but would be tight on cap space; Carolina is also a team that would be attractive but may not have the willingness to use remaining cap space, Chargers could be an option if they wanted to clear some cap space and pair him with Rivers. All cap data via Spotrac.