When the Dallas Cowboys released Dez Bryant, the original thought was he'd have a pretty sizable market for his services. According to reports, however, there doesn't seem to be a market for Dez Bryant at this point.
Both Bleacher Report, and ProFootballTalk.com are reporting a general lack of interest in Dez Bryant by NFL teams, regardless of the money.
Dez Bryant has been testing the market for three weeks now, and it appears that most teams just aren't interested in him, at any price https://t.co/pHZby33UHW
There are several reasons why Dez Bryant's market is as small as a watering hole in the Texas Summer.
Timing of the Dez Bryant Release
Bryant was released nearly six weeks after the start of the free agency period. That definitely hurt his ability to find a team. Not only had teams spent their money, but they began gearing up for the 2018 NFL Draft.
Whether that's true or not, it left Bryant out in the free agency cold.
Deep Wide Receiver Draft
In the 2018 NFL Draft, there were 34 wide receivers drafted in the 256 picks made this year. Linebacker was the only position that had more selections made during the draft (39). It was always viewed as a deep wide receiver draft. Ten players went in the first three rounds of the draft, which are the premium rounds for teams.
The San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints, teams that were rumored to have interest in Dez Bryant, each drafted a wide receiver with a pick in the first three rounds. The Baltimore Ravens, the other team with interest in Bryant, took one in the fourth round.
As teams get into their mini-camps and OTAs, snaps are at a premium. Teams want to see what the guys on their roster have before bringing in another veteran receiver.
Dez Bryant Over-Inflated his Value
When Dez Bryant left, he targeted the NFC East as a landing spot, just so he could play the Cowboys twice in 2018. Like the rest of the NFL, there hasn't been a ton of interest in Bryant from Cowboys rivals.
The Baltimore Ravens were one of the first to be linked to Dez Bryant and they reportedly offered him a three-year deal worth $21-million dollars. Bryant turned down the offer hoping to sign a one year deal with a bigger guaranteed number to prove himself worthy of a long-term deal.
.@AdamSchefter says on ESPN the Ravens were willing to pay Dez Bryant about $7 million per year, and Schefter can't find any other teams willing to pay him anywhere near that amount. Says NFC East teams are not interested — at least for now. @NBCDFW
— Pat Doney (@PatDoneyNBC5) May 2, 2018
Adam Schefter from ESPN reported on NFL Live that far more teams are unwilling to pay Dez Bryant the league minimum than teams that are.
The New Orleans Saints were rumored to have interest in Bryant as well, but that hasn't led to any sort of offer. Not even much of a rumored pursuit.
The “at least for now” part of Pat Doney's tweet above is an important factor to consider regarding Dez Bryant's market. While team's may not have much interest at the moment, there is a lot of time left between now and week one of the NFL Season.
Dez Bryant's Production
While it's easy to point the finger at others, other teams, and the timing of the release, it may not be as complicated as we're making it out to be.
Will McClay explained to Drew Davison on 103.3 FM ESPN Radio (also of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram), on-field production had just as much to do with Dez Bryant's release as money was. The production didn't match the payment.
“It was a collective deal. The (inability) to win one-on-one, to win down field. There was inconsistency as well as some huge things in his play. So what’s best moving forward for Dez Bryant and the Cowboys, we just made that decision. It’s a production-based business.”
Will McClay on ESPN Radio 103.3 Dallas-Fort Worth
McClay later attempted to clarify those statements with 105.3 The Fan, but it's obvious that the team didn't feel the production Dez Bryant provided was worth the price to have Dez on the Cowboys' roster.
Dez Bryant's Personality
Dez Bryant's personality has long been a debated topic in Cowboys Nation. Many fans feel that the sideline tantrums and tirades are a distraction to the team. However, when players and coaches are asked about it, they talk about the passion and fire that Dez brings as a positive.
Tony Romo, speaking at his US Open qualifier, recently came to Bryant's aide.
“One thing, I don't know how many teams will do their homework on it, but Dez is a good teammate and I think sometimes that might get lost in the way that the emotional aspect of things. If I was talking to any of the GMs or coaches, I would tell them he's not going to hurt the locker room in any possible way. He's going to come out and he'll be a great teammate when he gets there. I think he'll have a couple of options here soon.”
But that's not all of the story.
When Dez Bryant was released, he took it very personally and went on a Twitter storm to call people out about how things went down and let people know his displeasure with the way it happened.
Public criticism doesn't sit well with head coaches and front offices in any sport, but especially the NFL. Cowboys Nation weren't the only ones to see Dez Bryant's reaction to being released, and it wouldn't surprise me if that has had something to do with Bryant's free agent market being dried up.
If the reports are true, that teams aren't interested in the Pro Bowl wide receiver at the league minimum is a scathing indictment of Dez Bryant's reputation around the league.
Whether it's because his play dropped off or because of the personality that Bryant brings to the table, which is part of what made him great, teams aren't seeing the benefit of bringing Bryant into their locker room at the moment.
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Now, he will sign with someone, but it's looking like teams aren't backing up dump trucks of money to Dez Bryant's front door. For whatever reason, it's looking like Dez Bryant is going to have to convince a team to sign him. No one saw that coming when Bryant was released.
For everything that Dez Bryant has brought to the table over the years, this drama will be the one that defines the twilight of his career.