Per reports, the Cleveland Browns might reach back out to free agent receiver Dez Bryant next week to resurface contract talks. You see, doing so at that time would ensure only 25% of his 2018 salary would be guaranteed if the team ended up releasing him. Smart thinking, Cleveland, very savvy stuff.
Here’s a quick question, though – why is this team still bothering with Bryant?
Seriously, in the days since he visited with the Browns last month, what developments have occurred which would make signing him seem like a good idea? Why is Cleveland still hung up on a wideout no other team in the NFL is expressing interest in?
Here’s everything you need to know about this saga, summed up in three sentences.
Bryant was given a contract offer by the Browns. He has not yet accepted it. It’s been three weeks.
Does this sound like a player who’s truly interested in playing for Cleveland? Or does it sound like someone who knew visiting the team meant he’d get some face time on Hard Knocks which he could use for positive PR in attempts to convince another team to reach out to him?
While that isn’t confirmed, it’s tough to see it in any other light.
Bryant was given an offer which came in a little under $5 million. On the surface, it’s low for a three-time Pro Bowler. However, it’s what he should expect when trying to angle for a one-year, prove-it deal to show he’s still at the top of his game.
It’s also the only offer he’s received over the past couple months. Yet, in the time since, it’s just sitting there collecting dust.
Which makes Cleveland’s continued interest in him all the more confusing.
The Browns already have two legit wideout options in Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon. While relying on the latter is always risky, he’s still a bigger threat than Bryant should he stay on the straight and narrow.
The team also likes what it sees in Rashard Higgins and rookie Antonio Callaway. It’s likely Cleveland will try and create opportunities for both to see if either can contribute on a weekly basis.
Even if the Browns table this to bring in Bryant, he’d be their third receiving option at best. While this appears formidable, we’re also talking about a player who’s known for demanding passes and will be attempting to prove to the rest of the league he’s worthy of another long-term deal. It’s tough to buy the idea of him accepting the role of WR3.
It’s doesn’t make much sense for GM John Dorsey – who refers to his continued flirtation with Bryant a “week-to-week thing” – to keep pursuing a potentially uninterested player, especially when you consider one of the first moves he made when arriving to Cleveland.
Within days of being hired by the Browns last December, Dorsey booted wideout Kenny Britt, who spent his short time in Cleveland cashing his checks and dropping footballs. It was painfully obvious Britt wanted nothing to do with the Browns, caring little about anything but getting his money.
While Bryant is a better player than Britt, we aren’t seeing much of a difference between the two when it comes to a desire to play in Cleveland.
Barring the Browns’ receiving depth taking a huge and unexpected hit this week, there’s no reason to keep communication open with Bryant. The team doesn’t need him, and it’s clear he’s waiting to receive interest from other clubs. That this hasn’t happened yet should be telling enough on its own.
If it isn’t, the Browns need to ask themselves an important question — if Bryant was really interested in playing in Cleveland, wouldn’t he have accepted their offer soon after it was given?
He hasn’t yet, and I doubt he’d be in much of a hurry to do so if the team reaches out again next week. The writing is on the wall, and it’s time for Cleveland to call off the pursuit of Bryant. If he really wanted to be a part of this team, he’d be there already.