Only One Thing Matters When It Comes to Dez Bryant and the Ravens
No, it’s not the Ravens’ cap space.
I figured I’d knock that one off the list since that’s probably what many of you were thinking.
I’ll get to that more in a minute, but first things first. Yes, the Ravens appear interested in signing wide receiver Dez Bryant after he was released by the Dallas Cowboys Friday.
“Predictably, the Ravens have interest in him, sources confirmed,” reported The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec.
“Before the Ravens started their great wide receiver search of 2018, team officials reviewed all their pass-catching options. They looked at the pending unrestricted and restricted free-agent receiver classes, the wide receivers available in the NFL draft and the rumored salary-cap casualties at the position. Two of the names that stood out to them from that third category were Michael Crabtree and Dez Bryant.”
The Ravens got Crabtree under contract the day after he was cut despite little cap space. And the now $10 million cap figure really shouldn’t get in the way of signing Bryant either.
That number ranks in the middle of the league and Baltimore has ways of getting more. The market is expected to be aggressive for Bryant, but his next contract isn’t expected to be astronomical. Sportrac says it’s “very possible” he gets an $8 million annual deal like the one Crabtree signed. Baltimore could swing a second contract like that if it wants.
Bryant also retweeted Cowboys Insider Mike Fisher, who wrote that people shouldn’t “overrate” cap space when guessing where he could land. “Money isn’t going to be the driving force for him,” Fisher wrote.
So, here’s the biggest, and perhaps only, question:
That’s it. Where does Bryant want Bryant to play?
Well, he told the NFL Network over the weekend that staying in the NFC East is “a huge possibility.”
“It’s something that I want,” Bryant said. “It’s personal. I’m tired of being the scapegoat and I’m going to keep proving that on and off the field.”
It’s pretty clear that the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder wants to exact revenge on the Cowboys next year by showing them they made a mistake releasing him. Think Steve Smith Sr.’s “blood and guts” comment when he came to Baltimore and looked forward to punishing the Carolina Panthers.
The problem is Baltimore can’t even offer Bryant one chance this season to face his former team, let alone two chances. So, if that’s supremely important, the Ravens really don’t have a shot at landing him.
There are other factors that Bryant will surly consider. Where is his best chance of winning a Super Bowl? Where will his personality fit best? Which quarterback will bring out the best in him?
Outside of the NFC East, some speculated teams to be interested in Bryant’s services include the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints.
Bryant leaves an incredible Cowboys legacy. After being drafted by the team in 2010, he ranks first in franchise history with 73 touchdowns, third in receptions with 431 and fifth in receiving yards with 7,459.
However, after his return from a foot injury in 2015, Bryant hasn’t been as dominant as he once was. Of his 73 career touchdowns, 56 came in his first five seasons. Over the last two years, 36 players have notched more catches. Last year, he led the league with 12 drops, per Pro Football Focus.
His fallen production makes it easy to understand why the Cowboys cut him with a $16.5 million cap hit scheduled for this season. That said, Bryant still commands the attention of defenses and will be highly motivated to get back on top.
There’s no doubt he would upgrade the Ravens’ receiver corps; it would just have to be at the right price. And it says something when three defensive backs, who know what it’s like to defend big-time receivers, all publicly showed interest in bringing Bryant to Baltimore (see below).
“Bryant is still a dangerous red-zone target,” Zrebiec wrote. “He’s still a receiver capable of making big plays. And he competes with a physicality and intensity that the Ravens not only love, but badly need on the offensive side of the ball.
“But none of those things matter unless Bryant is truly interested in playing for the Ravens and believes that they represent his best opportunity.”
Uuuuuh, Mike Wallace Has an Interesting Clause in His New Contract
So, here’s an eyebrow raiser.
Former Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace has a massive $585,000 incentive clause in his contract with the Philadelphia Eagles if he weighs less than 250 pounds when their offseason program begins today, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.
Uuuuuuh, Wallace is listed at 200 pounds on the Eagles roster.
A fan pointed out to Wallace that he’s never “sniffed” 249 pounds in his life and 205 would be pushing it. Wallace laughed, saying he’s never even hit 205 before.
So, what’s the deal?
“Chalk it up as a highly creative bit of contract writing that all but guarantees Wallace a massive chunk of change,” wrote NFL.com’s Marc Sessler. “Assuming the 31-year-old deep threat hasn't ballooned wildly since season's end, Wallace can sit around all weekend until his checking account blows up come Monday morning.”
Robert Griffin III III and Michael Campanaro’s Contract Details
The money figures are in.
The Tennessee Titans will pay former Ravens wide receiver Michael Campanaro $880,000 for his one-year deal, including a $45,000* *signing bonus, according to Zrebiec.
Meanwhile, backup quarterback Robert Griffin III got a contract worth $1.1 million and a $100,000 signing bonus, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. He also reported that there are no guarantees in the contract, which means RGIII will simply have a chance to compete this summer.
“This indicates it's not a given that Griffin makes Baltimore's season-opening roster,” wrote ESPN.
Michael Crabtree and Smokey Brown Set to Participate in Ravens Offseason Workouts
Football is in the air … sort of.
The Under Armour Performance Center will see a massive influx of players today for the start of offseason workouts, but they can’t actually play football. And they can’t talk about it with coaches either.
Still, it will be the first chance for new players like Crabtree and Smokey Brown to meet their new teammates, including quarterback Joe Flacco, who is also expected to be in attendance and is scheduled to talk with media Tuesday morning.