The Cleveland Browns are hoping to get big things out of Josh Gordon this season. But they also know that they can’t depend on him to be there to do that. The talented wide receiver is too vulnerable off the field to be somebody that you bank on being available to the point that you don’t have a backup plan.
With Gordon now on the Did Not Report List as he tends to his own health and well-being, and the league stating that there is no timetable at the moment for his return, the Browns are turning their focus to former Pro Bowler Dez Bryant, who was released by the Dallas Cowboys several months ago.
As you might recall, the Baltimore Ravens previously went hard after him, offering him a multi-year contract that he actually turned down. To date, it is the only known contract offer that has been made public.
According to Cleveland.com, the Browns “have had initial conversations with Dez Bryant’s representatives about the three-time Pro Bowler signing a one-year deal”. His agent was already present on Thursday. If things progress, Bryant would take a visit with the organization and then potentially sign a contract.
If signed, there is no reason that he would not receive a significant amount of playing time. Currently, Jarvis Landry and Corey Coleman are working as the starters while Gordon is away from the team. The Browns also recently lost wide receiver Ricardo Louis for the season as one option.
In Gordon’s absence, Bryant would immediately enter the starting lineup alongside Landry, and would still remain one of the top three targets even if the former eventually returns to the field this season.
With his stated intention being to play for a contending team, it should probably be taken as a given that Bryant would not be interested in committing to the Browns beyond a one-year prove-it contract that would give him the opportunity to improve his market value for the 2019 free agency period.
A first-round draft pick back in 2010, the wide receiver’s performance has declined in recent years, generally tied to injuries, though a shift from Tony Romo to Dak Prescott has not helped his numbers either.
Still, he gained 796 yards with eight touchdowns in 2016, and 838 yards with six touchdowns last season. He did play all 16 games a year ago, for the first time since 2014. He missed three games the year before, and seven in 2015.
He was on the top of the league from 2012 through 2014, however. In those years, he averaged 91 receptions for 1312 yards and (rounding up) 14 touchdowns. He led the league with 16 touchdown receptions in 2014, which is more than any Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver has ever had in a single season.