The New Orleans Saints have reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with former Dallas Cowboys star Dez Bryant.
While the terms of the 30-year-old, three-time Pro Bowl wideout’s deal have not been disclosed, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport has confirmed, via YouTube, that Bryant is scheduled to the team on Thursday, November 8. After that date, he is expected to make the agreement official.
The Saints’ decision to pick Bryant up comes only one day after he and Brandon Marshall worked out for coach Sean Payton and his staff. As reporter Austin Knoblauch noted in Around the NFL‘s coverage of the signing, New Orleans has been looking to shore up its receiving roster with a bit more depth. This becomes especially important for the Saints since Ted Ginn Jr. went down with a season-ending injury against the New York Giants in Week 4. They’ve thus far leaned on rookie Tre’Quan Smith to fill the deep threat role, but in Bryant they get an experienced pass catcher who would likely be more adept at stretching the field for quarterback Drew Brees.
In the months leading up to his meeting with the New Orleans brass, Bryant had linked up with a couple of teams that showed interest in bringing him on board. There was even an instance in which he was seen in public with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones — leading many to speculate that perhaps there was a possibility that he might return to Dallas. However, Bryant has made the bad blood that he has with former coach Jason Garrett — and a select cadre of Cowboys players — a matter of public knowledge.
Since being released from the team earlier this year, he’s maintained that he would not return to the football field if the situation wasn’t right for him.
Dez will officially sign tomorrow when he returns to New Orleans. But this is a done deal. https://t.co/wfcntznicn— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 7, 2018
“Players say all the time it’s not about the money. Dez Bryant turned down a lot of money from the #Ravens, turned down a deal with the #Browns. He was searching for the right fit… and found it with a high-octane playoff team with the #Saints. It all worked out for him,” Rapoport would tweet after breaking news of the development.
Bryant now joins a Saints team that has won seven consecutive games to edge out the Carolina Panthers for the NFC South division lead. Skepticism has lingered as to how effective the 2014 All-Pro might be at this point — considering that his production has been in decline since his last thousand-yard season four years ago. However, Bryant’s natural talent has never been in question, and given that he’ll be working opposite one of the greatest quarterbacks in history, there is hope that his instincts — and 6 foot 2 inches frame — will go a long way in making up for his uncertain route running ability and occasionally suspect hands.