The Dallas Cowboys and wide receiver Dez Bryant ended what David Moore of the Dallas Morning News called their “dysfunctional relationship” Friday when the team cut the eight-year veteran. It wasn’t about the money, Moore says, but rather the feeling that both sides would be better off seeing other people, so to speak.
Bryant now has to find a landing spot weeks after many teams already wrapped up free agency, giving him something of a predicament in that he has to find a team that both has a need for a sometimes-temperamental wide receiver and has the salary cap space to afford what he’ll likely be asking (north of $10 million per season, most likely). And if he had his druthers, that landing spot would be in the NFC East so he could exact revenge on the Cowboys twice per year. Specifically, it would be in New York with the Giants.
“The Giants,” he told Mike Fisher of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, “got a helluva defense, they’re going to pay [Odell Beckham Jr.], so coming back. Playing with him, Sterling [Shepard] . . . the tight end [Evan Engram], [Eli] Manning? Crazy.”
But there is the not-insignificant matter of whether the Giants want or are able to sign Bryant, and there’s the rub: They only have $5 million in salary cap space remaining, which Mike Florio says is near the bottom of the league, and eventually they also are going to have to pay for a big-time contract extension for Beckham. Would they be able to squeeze Bryant in, as well, even if he would be willing to take a pay cut to play for his favored destination? Seems like a long shot.
Here are a few teams that could fit the bill for Bryant:
Ravens: Baltimore already pounced on Michael Crabtree after the Raiders let him go, and now the Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec is reporting that the Ravens have an interest in Bryant, whom the team tried to draft in 2010 but was beaten to the punch by the trading-up Cowboys. Baltimore has more than $10 million in remaining cap space and a need for big-play receivers; the Ravens had only 13 touchdown catches last season, which tied the Bears for the NFL low.
Texans: Houston plays just two hours from Bryant’s home town, has $32.2 million of cap space left and features two good-to-great wideouts in DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, who likely would attract a defense’s attention away from Bryant. Plus, the Texans host the Cowboys next season, giving him his chance for revenge.
49ers: San Francisco has a mess of cap space left — nearly $39 million — and not a lot going for it in terms of its wide receivers.
Jaguars: Jacksonville lost Allen Hurns to Dallas, apparently to replace Bryant at a much lower cost. So maybe the Jags can replace Hurns with Bryant.
“Dez thinks this can be a match,” Fisher reports.
On the flip side, here are a few teams that seem to be unlikely candidates to land Bryant.
Redskins: Bryant said Friday that he would prefer to stay in the NFC East for revenge purposes against his former team, but The Post’s Kareem Copeland and Kimberley A. Martin think it’s pretty unlikely that Bryant will end up with the Cowboys’ chief rival in D.C. Washington already has spent free agent money this offseason on former Seahawks wide receiver Paul Richardson, giving the team a pretty full wideout corps with Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson already on board.
Giants, Eagles: Bryant’s in-division hopes might be something of a pipe dream. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that his goal “is not being embraced at this moment” by either of the Cowboys’ other NFC East foes. The Eagles barely have any cap space left, anyway.
Browns: Cleveland inked three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry to a five-year extension worth about $75.5 million Friday and then signed Josh Gordon to a one-year contract Monday. Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot says the Browns are not expected to pursue Bryant, even if they lead the NFL in cap space.
Packers: Green Bay cut ties with 32-year-old Jordy Nelson. Why would they then sign a player of similar vintage like Bryant, who doesn’t seem too keen on the idea anyway?
“It wouldn’t seem right,” Dez told Fisher. “Too much history.”
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