As the New York Giants wrap up preseason play, many have wondered whether or not the team has the receivers necessary to compete in today’s NFL. Dez Bryant could be a potentially intriguing option.
Former New York Giants archrival Dez Bryant has not been heard from much during the 2019 offseason. Expect that to change quickly as the regular season begins, as teams around the league will be faced with different situations than they originally anticipated. The Giants certainly fall into that category.
The timeline also fits with Dez’s recovery timetable. Even the biggest Dez Bryant haters had to feel awful for the 30 year-old receiver when he went down with a torn Achilles tendon on the final play of his first practice with the New Orleans Saints last November. After sitting out for half the year (and reportedly turning down a big offer from the Ravens), Dez signed a minimal deal with the Saints in hopes of competing for a ring.
In April of 2018, however, Dez initially named the Giants as the team he most-wanted to play for after being released by the Cowboys. The idea was actually warmly received by most Giants fans, as they realized their past differences with the ‘diva’ receiver didn’t really matter. At that point, he was just as disgusted with the Cowboys as Giants fans always have been.
Nothing ever ended up transpiring, likely for cap reasons. General Manager Dave Gettleman would be wise to keep tabs on Bryant’s recovery from his devastating injury. Although it’s always a tricky injury, particularly for an older player, Bryant is still seemingly young enough to have some gas left in the tank. The injury has also been more forgiving to players who don’t rely as much as others on their speed, which is a category Dez fits into.
The main reason this makes sense is due to the glaring hole the Giants currently have at the ‘X’ receiver position. Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate (when he returns) are solid wideouts, but they are a little redundant. Both are at their best while playing in the slot, and most teams employ three receiver sets in this day and age, anyway. It’s hard to see any other receiver currently on the roster truly flourishing in that role.
Cody Latimer has absolutely shown flashes of being capable to command the job, but it’s more-than likely that his first five years in the NFL are a better indication of what kind of a player he actually is. The other receivers fighting to make the 53-man roster are a collection of young, unproven guys and special-teams based veterans. An Achilles injury usually takes anywhere from eight months to a year to recover from, making this a key time to start taking a look at Dez’s progress.
I, for one, think Dez would take it as a major sign of respect if the Giants reached out to him for a workout. It’s unlikely that Bryant would command anything more than a veterans-minimum salary at this point, so what’s really the risk here? He has been very complementary of numerous Giant players (Barkley, Engram, Shepard) in his time away from the game. There’s no beef here anymore. In fact, it would be smart for executives to play Dez’s newfound hate for the Cowboys into the team’s favor, should be become an option.
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We’ve all been an (unfortunate) party to what Dez can do on the field. When healthy, few in the league can rival Dez’s big body in traffic and run-after-catch ability. Imagine Tate and Shepard lined up on one side, with Engram and Dez lined up on the other. Oh, and Saquon in the backfield, lingering as the biggest home-run threat in the entire league. How terrorizing would that be for opposing teams?
It’s certainly worth exploring for the Giants, especially at the extremely-low cap number Dez would garner. Bryant has not directly spoken about his potential NFL future in recent months, but the Giants’ brass should be on the phone inquiring about what his plans are.
It likely won’t ever materialize, but again, what’s the downside here?