Dez Bryant’s injury is a tough blow after an unusual offseason
Bryant’s offseason was unusual. He was cut by the Cowboys weeks after free agency started, which limited his market. He turned down a reported three-year, $21 million deal from the Ravens and waited for the best opportunity. Although he has said before that it wasn’t about the money to him, it makes his apparent Achilles injury that much tougher. Bryant signed a one-year deal with the Saints that would pay him a maximum of $1 million, and that was with incentives he won’t reach now, if the injury is as serious as the team fears.
Bryant waited for the right match, and the Saints were it. New Orleans needed receiver depth (Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune pointed out that Bryant would be the fifth Saints receiver to go on injured reserve) and Bryant could help. Bryant could have played for a half-season and into the playoffs with Drew Brees, then hit free agency again. It seemed like a win-win.
What might be the worst part of Friday’s injury for Bryant is that he’ll likely have a tough go of it in free agency, again.
Dez Bryant throughout his football career
Dez Bryant throughout his football career
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant warming up before action against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on December 31, 2017. (Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 8: Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys catches a touchdown pass against E.J. Biggers #38 of the Philadelphia Eagles as teammate Terrance Williams #83 looks on in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium on November 8, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant (L) stretches for the first down after making the reception as he is pulled down by Texas cornerback Deon Beasley in the first half of their NCAA Big 12 football game in Austin, Texas October 25, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES)
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 17: Head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Jason Garrett, chats to Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys during the warm up before the game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 17, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - AUGUST 14: Wide receiver Dez Bryant #88 signs autographs for fans during Dallas Cowboys Training Camp at the Marriott Residence Inn Oxnard River Ridge on August 14, 2010 in Oxnard, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 05: Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates his touchdown catch against the Houston Texans in the second half at AT&T Stadium on October 5, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, MO - OCTOBER 11: Dez Bryant #1 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys stiff-arms Castine Bridges #21 of the Missouri Tigers on October 11, 2008 at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant warms up before a game against the Oakland Raiders on December 17, 2017 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. (Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 10: Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) on the field prior to the National Football League game between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys on December 10, 2017, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys rookie Dez Bryant, right, walks with reporters to the locker room following the Cowboys training camp at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, Saturday, July 31, 2010. (Photo by Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 30: Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys makes a touchdown reception against Bashaud Breeland #26 of the Washington Redskins in the fourth quarter of a football game at AT&T Stadium on November 30, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 19: Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys carries the ball and scores a touchdown against Darrelle Revis #24 of the New York Jets in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium on December 19, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 1: Wide receiver Dez Bryant #1 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys hauls in a practice pass before the game against the Georgia Bulldogs on September 1, 2007 at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. The Bulldogs beat the Cowboys 35-14. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 1: Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys misses a one handed catch in the fourth quarter of the game agains the Minnesota Vikings on December 1, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 27: Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys scores on a five yard touchdown pass from Tony Romo #9 during the second quarter ofd the game at Ford Field on October 27, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, right, signs an autograph for Cooper Wilson, 9, of Frisco, Texas, during Cowboys Mini Camp practice at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, June 12, 2010. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) cuts through the defense after receiving the ball as the Cowboys hold a practice session at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Wednesday June 2, 2010. (Photo by Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 30: Wide Receiver Dez Bryant #1 of the Oklahoma State University Cowboys jumps up to catch the ball as Free Safety T.J. Ward #2 of the University of Oregon Ducks breaks up the pass during the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium on December 30, 2008 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) is all smiles before playing the San Diego Chargers in their pre-season NFL football game in San Diego, California August 18, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Dallas Cowboys' wide receiver Dez Bryant (R) runs with the ball after the reception as St. Louis Rams' safety Craig Dahl (L) and cornerback Al Harris try to make the tackle in the first half of their NFL football game in Arlington, Texas October 23, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
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Bryant will be 31 during next season
There were many reasons Bryant was unsigned until this week. One of the reasons is last season he had a tough time getting separation from cornerbacks. He turned 30 on Nov. 4, and he won’t be more explosive at 31 years old next season coming off a torn Achilles. Teams will be even more wary of him losing a step.
If the MRI confirms a torn Achilles for Bryant, he’ll have about four months to rehab before free agency starts. Given how relatively slow the market was for him, it could be another offseason of waiting to see where Bryant lands.
It’s an injury that affects the Saints some, affects Bryant a lot more, and one that we’ll be revisiting often next offseason.