The football world was set ablaze a couple of days ago when former All-Pro wide receiver, Dez Bryant, announced he wants to make an NFL comeback. Bryant last played an NFL snap on December 31st, 2017 for the Dallas Cowboys. What makes Bryant’s return interesting for Packer fans is the fact that he named Green Bay as one of the four teams he would want to play for when he comes back. The other three choices were the Saints, which is his number one choice, the Ravens and the Panthers. Once the news broke, Packer fans all over social media seemed split down the middle about whether the team should sign Bryant or leave him alone.
Dez Bryant, a 2010 first round pick out of Oklahoma State, was one of the, if not the best wide receiver in the entire NFL from 2012 through 2014. In that span, he had 273 receptions for 3,935 yards and 41 touchdowns. That averages out to be 91 receptions per season for 1,312 yards and about 14 touchdowns. His best season came in 2014, the year he made First Team All-Pro, when he caught 88 passes for 1,320 yards and 16 touchdowns. Unfortunately, due to injuries and inconsistent quarterback play, Bryant’s numbers suffered after 2014. From 2015 through 2017, he played in 38 out of a possible 48 regular season games and had 150 catches for 2,035 yards and 17 touchdowns. Averaging the numbers out, Bryant ended up with about 50 catches per season for 678 yards and 6 touchdowns. He was still putting up solid numbers, but there was definitely a drop-off in production. Throughout his eight-year career, Bryant made three Pro Bowls and one All-Pro Team.
After a long 2018 offseason where he was rehabbing a serious foot injury, Dez Bryant was signed last season by the Saints, but never played a snap for them. Two days after joining New Orleans, Bryant tore his achilles during practice which ended his season. After a few down years and two serious injuries, it is obvious why signing Dez Bryant raises questions no matter which team you root for. The injuries may be in the past though. Bryant’s personal coach, who has worked with Josh Doctson, Jordan Reed and Emmanuel Sanders, has stated that Bryant looks “Healthy…fast…and explosive.” Besides all of that, he has also been labeled as a “locker room cancer” because of his off-field antics. This is something that does not worry me, considering Bryant is a more mature professional than he was who seems ready to accept a lesser role.
Even with all of the question marks, the Packers should still try to sign Dez Bryant. I am not saying to give him a huge multi-year deal, but give him one-year for the veterans minimum as a sort of “prove it” deal. However, Green Bay may have to act fast, considering there have been reports made by league sources that state Bryant has garnered the attention from plenty of other teams.
No matter how you feel about Geronimo Allison or Marquez Valdes-Scantling, by bringing in Dez Bryant, you give young and inconsistent receivers an established veteran to learn from. Bryant could even give Davante Adams some tips of the trade. He could step into a leadership role and really make an impact the same way Donald Driver did towards the end of his career. If he accepts his role as a number two or three receiver and buys into the system, Bryant could give Green Bay yet another weapon on offense.
Aaron Rodgers has always had more success when he has more weapons to throw too. Bryant could be the perfect guy to line up across from Adams or line up in the slot and give Rodgers a big target to throw to across the middle. Since Bryant is such a big name, he could also take the attention away from Green Bay’s current receivers, giving them an easier path to get open.
Now, I know a lot of Packer fans despise Dez Bryant for his years with the Cowboys, but it is time to let that go and look at Dez Bryant the football player. He is a big, fast target, with great hands and a ton of previous success who could help the Packers tackle their lofty expectations this season.