Dez in Washington? Odds on Where Bryant Will Sign

Dez Bryant acknowledging Cowboys fans in Washington
Once a First-Team All-Pro, Dez Bryant has now officially been released by the Dallas Cowboys. Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC License]
  • Dez Bryant has officially been released by the Dallas Cowboys
  • Will the three-time Pro Bowl receiver stay in the NFC East?
  • Who are the most likely candidates to pursue Dez in free agency?

What many had grown to expect became official today: the Dallas Cowboys have released former All-Pro receiver Dez Bryant, after eight years spent with the team. Bryant was scheduled to count as $16.5 million against the cap in 2018, which would have been the third-highest among wide receivers this season.

Player Team 2018 Cap Hit Receiving Yards in Last 3 Seasons
Mike Evans TB $18.3M 1,176
Larry Fitzgerald ARI $16.9M 1,131
Dez Bryant DAL $16.5M 678
Jarvis Landry CLE $16M 1,093
DeAndre Hopkins HOU $14M 1,284
AJ Green CIN $13.8M 1,113
TY Hilton IND $13M 1,179

After seeing that table, it’s easy to understand why Jerry Jones felt he wasn’t worth the money. But in Dez’s defense, he only played in nine games in 2015, and only one of those was with Tony Romo under center (a mixture of Matt Cassel, Brandon Weeden, and Kellen Moore for the other eight); he also only played in 13 games in 2016, and the Cowboys attempted the third-fewest passes in the league.

The three-time Pro Bowl receiver hasn’t been shy about sharing his feelings on the decision through his Twitter account. It didn’t take long to realize he is taking this decision very personally, and would like to make the Cowboys pay.

Per Pro Football Focus, Dez was the 47th-ranked WR last season, receiving a 75.2 grade. The question is whether teams will covet Bryant as the receiver who posted 3,935 receiving yards and 41 TDs from 2012-2014, and credit his last three years to an unfavorable situation, or will he have to prove he’s still an elite receiver?

To answer that, let’s dive into the odds on where Dez will play in 2018.

Team Odds to Sign Dez Bryant in 2018
Washington 5/1
San Francisco 49ers 5/1
Baltimore Ravens 12/1
Carolina Panthers 12/1
New York Giants 12/1
Jacksonville Jaguars 14/1
Seattle Seahawks 14/1
Arizona Cardinals 19/1
Houston Texans 24/1
Philadelphia Eagles 24/1
FIELD 24/5

 

Washington

Dez wants to stay in the division, and Washington is the NFC East team in the best cap position to bring him in. The addition would certainly be welcomed by their new pivot, Alex Smith.

San Francisco 49ers

Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch want to provide Jimmy Garoppolo with a legitimate WR1. They could find one with the ninth-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but they also have other holes they could address with that pick, like finding an edge rusher or adding another corner. Signing Dez right now would allow for that freedom.

Baltimore Ravens

Michael Crabtree is a nice addition for the Ravens, but he doesn’t fix their 29th-ranked aerial attack. Crabtree and Dez Bryant would provide Joe Flacco with plenty of firepower.

Carolina Panthers

In trading away Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina learned that Devin Funchess is not a legitimate WR1, rather another big-bodied receiver who failed to come down with too many jump-balls. Dez would be a major upgrade for Cam Newton and company.

New York Giants

Don’t be shocked if the Giants choose to trade one big personality at receiver for another. Whether that’s Brandon Marshall being cut or Odell Beckham Jr being traded is yet to be determined.

Jacksonville Jaguars

After losing Allen Robinson, Jacksonville chose to take a swing on Donte Moncrief in free agency. It was a low-risk signing that could pay off big for the Jaguars. But they may want to stack their hand for another Super Bowl run in 2018.

Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson lost his favorite red zone target, Jimmy Graham, in free agency, and outside of Doug Baldwin, no receiver on their roster has consistently proven they’re a threat. Unfortunately for Wilson, even after releasing Richard Sherman and trading Michael Bennett, the Seahawks don’t have a lot of cap space.

Arizona Cardinals

Yes, the Cardinals need to find someone to take over for Larry Fitzgerald – seeming to be an impossible task – but what’s pulling Dez to the Cardinals, Sam Bradford?

Houston Texans

The thought of Dez staying in Texas seems to be a common one, but the Texans are already set at receiver. After seeing what Deshaun Watson did with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller last year, why go out and pay for another pass-catcher?

Philadelphia Eagles

If Dez had his choice of any team, it’s hard to imagine him picking anyone other than the Eagles. Philadelphia is coming off a Super Bowl championship, they have one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, and Doug Pederson is a player-friendly coach who loves to throw the ball. Oh, and he’d also get to stick it to Jerry Jones and the Cowboys twice a year.

However, Philadelphia would need to make a number of roster moves to free up the cap space for Bryant.