Any Upside for Bryant and the Browns?

Dez needs Cleveland more than they need him

by Lead NFL Writer Shawn S. Lealos | @sslealos |

Dez Bryant is in Cleveland talking to the Browns’ front office about a possible role with the team.

This was hinted at on this week’s Hard Knocks when general manager John Dorsey said that he would talk to Bryant if he answered his phone calls. After the Browns win last week over the New York Giants in their first preseason action, Bryant posted on Twitter that he would come in to talk.

Bryant did in fact show up in Cleveland on Thursday and even made an appearance on the Browns’ daily radio show. When asked about wearing orange in Cleveland, Bryant said that he looked good in orange with the Oklahoma State Cowboys in college.

Bryant then told the hosts that he was trying to work some things out with the Browns.

Is Cleveland the Best Place for Dez Bryant?

The problem is that the Cleveland Browns – despite only winning one game over the last two seasons – really have no need for Dez Bryant. It also might not be the best place for Bryant to try to prove he still belongs in the NFL.

Bryant turned down a three-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens already. Sources say that he wants to sign a one-year deal to prove to the NFL that he is still elite. This would allow him to get a huge contract in 2019.

The problem is that Bryant has waited too long and most teams are set at wide receiver now – including the Cleveland Browns.

Yes, the Browns traded their number one draft pick from two years ago in Corey Coleman. That played out on Hard Knocks this week when Coleman got mad that he was running with the second team – despite dropping numerous passes and giving up on routes in practice. He told head coach Hue Jackson to start him or trade him.

The Browns traded him to the Buffalo Bills for a seventh-round draft pick in 2020.

Browns players admitted on Hard Knocks that the trade was highly insulting for the former first round draft pick.

At the time, John Dorsey said he wanted to look at other receivers and mentioned Bryant’s name.

The Browns Are Set at Receiver

Straight up – the Cleveland Browns have some great talent catching the ball in 2018.

Jarvis Landry has some of the best hands in the NFL. He can make acrobatic one-handed grabs anywhere on the field no matter who is covering him. He has the most receptions of any player in their first four seasons of NFL play with 400. He also ranks third in receptions for all players since he entered the NFL.

Jarvis Landry is the number one receiver and is better than Dez Bryant.

Josh Gordon is coming back. Yes, he has been suspended more than he has played but when he plays there might not be a more dynamic playmaker than Gordon. While he has yet to report to training camp, he is with an NFL-sanctioned medical team and is working on his own well-being.

When Gordon shows up, he will get every chance in the world to play and his speed is a perfect compliment to Landry’s route running. Bryant is too similar to Landry as a possession receiver and he isn’t even on the same planet as Gordon as a speed receiver.

Then there is Antonio Callaway.

Yes, Callaway was cited for marijuana possession last week and hid it from coaches, but he proved in the first preseason game that there is no ceiling to what he can do on the field. He made two amazing catches and that included a long touchdown. Dez Bryant is 29. Antonio Callaway is 21.

Add in the fact that tight end David Njoku (32 receptions, 386 yards in 2017) and all-purpose running back Duke Johnson (74 receptions, 693 yards in 2017) are weapons, and there are not enough balls to go around.

What would Dez Bryant do in Cleveland?

Quite honestly, Jarvis Landry is the clear-cut number one man in Cleveland. He won’t match his 112 receptions from 2017 but he will get around 90. If Josh Gordon plays the entire season, he is good for at least 40 receptions. Add in 100 more for Njoku and Johnson combined, and that puts the Browns at 230 balls shared between four players.

Last year in Buffalo, Tyrod Taylor completed 263 passes. Last season, Cleveland Browns quarterbacks completed 312 passes. Taking the average of those numbers and Dez Bryant will be lucky to catch 60 total passes. He hasn’t caught more than 80 in a season since 2014 – the last time he broke 1,000 yards.

Those numbers will not get Dez Bryant a monster contract in 2019.

Dez Bryant could come in – and if he plays right and doesn’t torture the quarterbacks and assistant coaches with the constant complaining he was known for with the Dallas Cowboys – he could help the Browns win.

The biggest problem is that Dez Bryant could stunt the growth of Baker Mayfield and disrupt what Tyrod Taylor brings to the team. Cleveland doesn’t need the headaches that Bryant brings, and the former Cowboys’ star won’t get the playing time that will make him happy – and rich in 2019.

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