The New Orleans Saints seemed like they had a promising receiver in the making in rookie Tre'Quan Smith. They seemed like they had a veteran receiver ready to make his comeback tour in Cameron Meredith. Despite the potential of Smith and Meredith, the Saints appear intent upon adding Dez Bryant.
The Saints are the perfect offense for Bryant to revive his career. Drew Brees is as well-respected as quarterbacks come, which should give him authority in the event Bryant begins to whine. As mentioned, the Saints haven’t had a second receiver emerge, so Bryant could be the beneficiary, particularly in the red zone, where he could be the physical presence which the Saints haven’t gotten from Meredith or their tight ends. Thus, Bryant’s decision to join New Orleans makes sense.
For the Saints, though, this seems like a strange decision. They must not have faith in Smith or Meredith to contribute this season. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be looking for a fill-in like Bryant. He’ll certainly be interfering with their development. And is that worth it if Bryant also becomes a distraction in the locker room? Bryant will need to be amenable to a small workload. Because the Saints have such talented running backs, they are in the middle of the road when it comes to passing volume with 35.2 attempts per game, ranking 17th in the NFL. Michael Thomas is the clear No. 1 receiver, and the Saints should continue to feed him. Thus, Bryant has to be comfortable fighting for a spot on the field with the knowledge he’ll never be the No. 1 option in the passing game, and will likely be No. 3 behind Thomas and running back Alvin Kamara. The third option may not get a ton of looks from Brees.
How will he respond?
If he does become a problem, they can just cut him. But these next few weeks could provide key snaps for Smith, if he’s going to begin to emerge in time for the playoffs. Time spent on Bryant could be time wasted for Smith.
Ultimately, the Saints must think they can get Bryant ready in time for the playoffs — and that they can’t get Smith ready. But the Saints might be wise to stick with what they’ve got, rather than to bring in the Dallas Cowboys’ former problem-child.