Dez Bryant is out there looking for a team to help him rehabilitate his value. He and the Cincinnati Bengals would be a perfect match.
There aren’t a lot of NFL teams out there that can really use Dez Bryant at this point in his career. Fortunately, a marriage between he and the Cincinnati Bengals would work out beautifully for both parties.
Teams looking to acquire Bryant need to have two things in order to make the deal work. First off, they must have enough cap space to sign him to a reasonable one-year contract. He isn’t going to get the $10 million or so he’d like to earn, but he’s not going to work for the minimum either. The Bengals currently have over $10 million in cap space which would allow them to comfortably fit Bryant in without making additional roster moves.
The second thing teams must have is a legitimate need for a certain type of wide receiver. The days of Dez Bryant blowing past opposing cornerbacks on the outside are over. Bryant in his current state needs to be able to play in the slot. Fortunately for the Bengals, they are blessed with A.J. Green at one flanker spot and Brandon LaFell is fully capable of playing on the other side. That leaves ample room for Bryant to operate in the middle of the field.
In Cincinnati’s best case scenario they’d have a healthy Tyler Eifert to attack the seams from the tight end spot. Unfortunately, the Bengals can’t afford to assume he’ll be available for anywhere near 16 games. He’s only managed to play 10 games over the past two seasons. Expecting him to be a big part of the offense just isn’t realistic.
Tyler Kroft filled in admirably in Eifert’s absence last season, but he’s not the dynamic target that Bryant can be. There’s a reason that Giovani Bernard was the team’s third leading receiver last year. Kroft just isn’t explosive enough to be anything more than a safety valve.
The Bengals’ inability to attack the middle of the field really makes life difficult for quarterback Andy Dalton. When he’s given time he can be a very accurate passer, but his arm strength isn’t elite. That makes throws to the outside hash a problem for him. Green’s catch radius can make up for a lot of Dalton’s inaccuracy, but it does limit how good the Cincinnati offense can be.
Inserting Bryant into the mix would give Dalton a real chance to attack opposing defenses all across the field. Teams are always going to double Green. That means the Bengals’ inside receivers will almost always be facing single coverage or zone.
Bryant can use his size and physicality to get open in the middle of the field. His productive moments for the Cowboys last season were a product of his ability to catch the ball in traffic. That’s just what Dalton needs from his inside receivers.
It’s probably a make or break year in Cincinnati for Andy Dalton and the team needs to give him every opportunity to succeed. Giving him a big, physical receiver like Bryant to work the middle of the field would give both players a legitimate chance to revive their sputtering careers.