In the 10 days since receiver Dez Bryant became available to any team that may want him, Bryant has received no serious sniffs. The Ravens reportedly were interested, but that was before Baltimore signed Saints receiver Willie Snead to an offer sheet, which the Saints won’t be matching.
No other team has been linked to Bryant, despite his effort to generate linkage. He wants to stay in the NFC East, and he has said he’d like to play for the Giants. Apart from cutting Brandon Marshall (which undoubtedly would have happened without Bryant being available), there’s no reason to think the Giants want Dez.
With the draft looming, teams are focused on getting the guys they want from the incoming crop of players. After the dust settles on the draft, a team that had hoped to address needs at the position could become interested in Dez. That interest could be affected by what other teams see and hear from Amazon’s new season of All or Nothing, which focuses on the Cowboys — and which debuts on Friday.
Dez shows up often in the eight-episode series, and it’s obvious that, during the 2017 season, the Cowboys were trying to figure out where and how Dez fit into the long-term plans.
“There are whispers that he isn’t the player he once was,” narrator Jon Hamm says during the second episode of the series. “Inconsistency and injury are part of it. Complicating the equation is Bryant’s mercurial nature. It’s unclear whether he’s in permanent decline, or simply in a mid-career lull. Either way, the Cowboys’ coaches need to know.”
In episode six, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan seems to be convinced that Dez can still get it done, given this directive given to quarterback Dak Prescott.
“One thing about Dez is when he’s got a guy on him he’s still open, right?” Linehan says. “As long as you give him a chance. He’s not gonna let the guy freaking take it down. He’ll be up there and get that ball.”
In the next episode, Bryant and cornerback Jourdan Lewis battle during practice. After the incident, coach Jason Garrett draws everyone together.
“What’s the lesson?” Garrett says. “The first lesson is this. The juice is good, now. The juice is good. You need to be passionate about what you’re doing in life in order to be successful. That’s all good. OK, the edge is good. The edge is good. You can’t win in this league if you’re not edgy. A couple of observations, though. Focus is important. You’ve got to be careful about fighting the wrong battles all day long. It ultimately comes down to what you do, not what you say.”
The message appeared to be both an encouragement and a warning to Dez. Yes, it’s good to have passion. No, passion alone isn’t enough.
Ultimately, the passion wasn’t enough to keep Dez in Dallas. It’s a possibility that he acknowledged near the end of the season.
“Sh-t I don’t know,” Bryant says in a clip of an interaction with reporters regarding whether he’ll be back. “But if that came about, I’m still Dez Bryant. I’m still going over the top. If it’s there where I can grab it, I’m gonna grab it. It’s just who I am.”
Before he can grab it during a game, someone needs to grab him from the open market. In the first 10 days of his first foray into free agency, it hasn’t happened. It likely will happen, if at all, at some point after the draft.