Reports surfaced early on Wednesday that former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant would not be signing with a team prior to the 2018 NFL Draft. Given that the draft is about to take place, that shouldn’t be that great of a surprise at this point. But we now know that it was not for a lack of opportunity.
According to Ed Werder, the Baltimore Ravens offered the former Pro Bowler a multi-year contract, but he turned it down. As we now know, the AFC North runners-up subsequently doubled back and signed restricted free agent Willie Snead to an offer sheet after having put him through a workout some weeks ago.
Source: Former #Cowboys WR Dez Bryant turned down a multi-year offer from the #Ravens. He apparently wants a big 1-year deal and chance to secure bigger long-term contract as a UFA from beginning in 2019.
— Ed Werder (@EdwerderRFA) April 25, 2018
Ian Rapoport followed up by pointing out the reality that the Ravens required a multi-year deal in order to massage it into their cap window.
Yup. Ravens needed a multi-year deal to fit under the cap, Dez Bryant wanted a 1-year. Baltimore wanted him, Bryant wasn’t ready to commit. https://t.co/T3n7ohBRwk
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 25, 2018
It wasn’t long after Bryant was first released that we heard reports of the Ravens being the team that showed the most interest in signing the former Cowboy, and now we know based on Werder’s report that they indeed tried to get something done, going so far as to even offer terms.
Baltimore has already added one big-name street free agent wide receiver in Michael Crabtree, a signing that did not come without its controversy given that it was preceded by the scrubbing of a contract agreed to with Ryan Grant that was scrubbed following a failed physical (though in their defense, they fail more players on physicals than most teams).
In addition to Crabtree and Snead, the Ravens also added former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown, who is looking to regain the early form he showed in his second season back in 2015. This new top trio replaces the teams’ top three wide receivers from last season in terms of receptions, with Mike Wallace and Michael Campanaro having left in free agency and Jeremy Maclin being released. Maclin remains unsigned.
It’s quite possible that Baltimore still addresses the wide receiver position in the draft, even if they have a poor history of acquiring talent there via that route. There isn’t much behind the three they’ve signed this offseason, among them Breshad Perriman, who appears to well on his way to a first-round bust.
quarterback Joe Flacco will have to get used to his new receivers this offseason, and he does plan to throw with them in private sessions in order to start building a rapport. He struggled to get on the same page with Maclin last year after the receiver was a late-summer signing and the quarterback missed training camp and the preseason with a back injury.