In a move that would put the cherry on top of a hectic NFL offseason, the Browns reportedly have interest in former Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, with a workout possibly in the cards for Monday.
Sources: The #Browns and FA WR Dez Bryant have mutual interest and the team is working on scheduling a visit with him. Monday would be a logistical day, if not sooner. This could be a match.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 27, 2018
Now, I know what many of my fellow Browns fans are thinking.
“Dez Bryant?! Why wouldn’t we want to pair him with Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry!”
“ He’s a three-time Pro Bowler and played for America’s Team, how can we pass this opportunity up?”
“Dez would give the Browns swagger and a winning attitude, we should sign him!”
Yes, these are all valid points, but the Dez Bryant of now is a lot different than the one we saw light up the league for 88 receptions, 1,320 yards and 16 TDs en route to first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections way back in 2014.
A lot has changed since then.
Not only has the quarterback from that Cowboys team, Tony Romo, morphed from an injury-prone signal caller to a masterful announcer, but Dez has struggled in the three seasons since that stunning campaign.
From 2015-2017, he averaged a bitterly disappointing 50 receptions, 678 yards and 6 TDs per season which, along with injuries and off the field issues, led to his release in April after eight seasons in Dallas.
To put these averages in perspective, it may be useful to compare them to some of the numbers seen in 2017 by other aerial threats.
Bryant’s averages of 678 yards and 50 receptions both would’ve failed to crack the top 50 of each category, with his TD mark leaving him tied for the sixth-most in the league.
Now, these are respectable numbers, but they do not warrant him getting more snaps than both Gordon or Landry.
Despite those touchdown catches, it also can be said that the Browns have two young tight ends in David Njoku and Seth DeValve who they want to get more involved, particularly in the red zone. This may rule Bryant out as more of a situational receiver.
The Browns could very well get similar production from other options that are already on the roster, with WRs Corey Coleman and Rashard Higgins as well as running back Duke Johnson being available.
These numbers, yet again, aren’t horrific and almost certainly would be good enough to get almost any other WR in the league a spot on an NFL roster. However, Bryant is not your average wideout.
His immense talent is almost matched by his immense ego and issues off the field.
From lawsuits claiming that he owed more than $500,000 to debtors due to excessive spending on jewelry and sports tickets, a 2012 physical altercation with his mother and owning a pet monkey, Bryant has had his fair share of problems when he’s not on the gridiron.
He also is infamous for speaking his mind, as evidenced by the many Twitter rants he has undertaken over the years.
The latest one, in which he called out several members of the Cowboys organization and ruminated on his release, should prove very troubling for the Browns.
He’s not clueless.. Jerry was the only one who was clueless.. shit was a planned to get me out ask Travis and my brother snake Lee I mean Sean Lee https://t.co/7BK9cEkW90
— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) July 27, 2018
Would Bryant be a good influence on the young players in this locker room such as QB Baker Mayfield, TE Davod Njoku and rookie running back Nick Chubb, integral parts of the team’s future who the coaching staff are trying to foster a winning culture within? Probably not.
If Bryant can spew vitriolic tweets about the organization that he spent his first eight seasons with to his 3.49 million followers, imagine what he could say about Hue Jackson and Co. if he feels mistreated by an organization that he hasn’t even spent a full season with.
I also can’t imagine that the extra media pressure would be good for Gordon, who is currently not attending training camp due to an undisclosed personal matter regarding his mental health.
Perhaps there actually is a reason that, with training camp having started for all 32 NFL teams that Bryant is unsigned.
Perhaps there actually is a reason that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who values winning over anything and has acquired distractions such as cornerbacks Adam “Pacman” Jones and Deion Sanders, as well as wide receiver Terrell Owens, released Bryant in April.
Perhaps the Browns haven’t yet realized something the rest of the league has, that Dez Bryant is an overrated, loud-mouth malcontent whose play simply isn’t worth the headache that will likely accompany him.
It also doesn’t help that history seemingly isn’t on the Brown’s side; the team signed a similarly overtly charismatic receiver in Andre Rison in the mid-90s, a move that backfired spectacularly and almost certainly contributed to the team moving to Baltimore (Owner Art Modell had to take a loan out to pay his signing bonus).
No matter how you cut it, Dez Bryant, in spite of his respectable numbers and star power, would not be a good fit for such a young and ambitious team such as the Browns.
Even with the talent he brings, his baggage would only serve to distract the team and take away opportunities for younger players, something that I’m sure the organization does not want after the dumpster fires of the last two seasons.