Dez Bryant will have to find somewhere else to “Throw up the X” after the Cowboys decided to release him Friday morning. Bryant, a former first-round pick from Oklahoma State, was known as one of the league’s premier receivers a few years ago. However, his game significantly slipped after Tony Romo departed and Dak Prescott was named the starter. That, combined with his $8 million cap hit for 2018, was enough of a reason for Jerry Jones to say goodbye.
Now 29, Dez has only a few years left in his prime, if any. Luckily, many receivers can be productive into their mid-30s, but Bryant hasn’t had an elite season since 2014, when he scored 16 touchdowns and racked up 1,320 yards. There’s still plenty of reason to believe Bryant can contribute to another team, especially one that’s committed to throwing the football. Let’s take a look at some of the potential suitors for Bryant’s ninth season. There are only 12 teams with more than $5 million in space, so lets narrow it down to some of those teams.
Per spotrac.com, the Colts have more than $47 million in cap space available. While Andrew Luck has missed 26 games during the past three seasons, he remains one of the league’s best signal-callers when healthy. The Colts have T.Y. Hilton as their speedy, elusive receiver, but they just lost Donte Moncrief to Jacksonville. Dez probably wants to play for a contender, and the Colts aren’t there yet, but they undoubtedly have the money and the quarterback play Dez desires.
San Francisco 49ers
When Jimmy Garoppolo singed the richest contract in NFL history this offseason, it immediately became a desired free agent destination, especially for receivers. The 49ers have Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon but could use a bigger receiver like Bryant. The 49ers also have the fifth-most salary cap space in the NFL, so money is not an issue for them.
The Titans have made it known they’re not afraid to spend money and shake up their roster. They released former Dallas Cowboy Demarco Murray and spent a boatload of money on Malcolm Butler and Dion Lewis, and they still have plenty of money to spend. Tennessee made the divisional round of the playoffs last season and has a bright, young quarterback in Marcus Mariota, whom I believe is much more talented than Prescott.
Green Bay Packers
Now this would be a twist of fate. The whole “Dez caught it” debacle (which was actually ruled a catch last month), happened against the Packers in the divisional round of the 2014 NFL Playoffs. The Packers said farewell to Jordy Nelson this offseason and could be looking for another weapon to add alongside Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and Jimmy Graham. Then again, adding Bryant to that impressive list of weapons seems a bit overkill when you have a QB like Rodgers.
The Bills traded for Kelvin Benjamin last season, but he hasn’t quite solidified himself as a go-to receiver yet. Buffalo invested a second-round pick in Zay Jones last April, but he’s still only 23 and has some work to do. They lost 6-foot-3 wideout Jordan Matthews to free agency, so the Bills, who have about $9.5 million in space, are another potential suitor.