Much has been said about the fit of Dez Bryant and the Jacksonville Jaguars. With the injury to Marqise Lee, some immediately felt the ex-Cowboys standout would be the obvious choice to fill the roster gap. Our Ryan Day reported Doug Marrone would not look outside of the present roster for help at the wide receiver position. While he did use the word “no” in his answer, he did note improving the team is still the top priority.
“No, I think we feel comfortable with what we have now. If we feel at any position that we can get ourselves better, we’re always going to look at that. That’s kind of business as usual for us.”
While one might read this as a definitive statement, Doug surely left the door open in stating this business demands improvement. While the sentiment today, should upcoming practices, and pre-season game four, disclose an inability to compensate for Lee’s absence, then the Jaguars may look at other options.
Best Bet To Sign Dez Bryant
|Cleveland Browns||3/1 (+300)|
|New England Patriots||4/1 (+400)|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||4/1 (+400)|
|Seattle Seahawks||5/1 (+500)|
|Arizona Cardinals||6/1 (+600)|
|New York Giants||10/1 (+1000)|
|Tennessee Titans||10/1 (+1000)|
|Does not play||3/1 (+300)|
|Field (Any Other Team)||5/1 (+500)|
MyBookie did not disclose what data was used to formulate these odds, but it is clear stability at the quarterback position is not a primary motivating factor. Of the seven teams listed, only two field what would be considered upper tier quarterbacks, those being New England and Seattle. The Giants, Titans, and Jaguars offer arguably average at best signal callers, while Arizona and Cleveland are teams looking to figure out who their starter will be.
Need at the wide receiver spot presents as the most reasonable assumption for the seven listed. Apart from Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona and Odell Beckham Jr. in New York, these clubs lack an established playmaker. Even in Cleveland they still have a proven possession guy in Jarvis Landry, while some, like Jacksonville, lack anyone with extensive NFL experience.
If the argument is need, then Jacksonville may present as a good bet. Jacksonville may be that spot where Bryant can run simple routes, using his big body to get separation. If there is something Bortles excels at it is the slant route. Yet, when it comes to Dez he brings more than just experience. There is the cultural fit, along with the physical capabilities.
Yahoo’s Charles Robinson reported Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson would first consider how Bryant fits in with present players, specifically how Dez and Josh Gordon would work together. A stable place in New England, a team whose culture demands a team first attitude, and with Tom Brady a proven winner, is equally questionable. According to ex-Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown, it goes beyond personality.
“I just don’t think he’s that guy the kind of receiver they want in this type of offense. Obviously people are seeing some things in the guy that they may not care for a whole lot. I just don’t think he runs the type of routes the Patriots want in a receiver right now.”
USA Today’s Nate Davis, on the other hand, seems to think Bryant is healthy enough to be an asset to the Jaguars offense, though he seems to cut the legs out from under his argument as he is making it
“The Jags should likewise be a match for Bryant, who’s only 29. Granted, he hasn’t been a 1,000-yard receiver since 2014 and some will suggest his route tree is limited and skill set on the decline. However he’s apparently back to full health and could further benefit from the space Jacksonville’s top-ranked running game (in 2017) would afford him — and running back Leonard Fournette and quarterback Blake Bortles would surely appreciate the red zone threat and chain-moving ability Bryant would bring to the attack.”
It has been reported that Bryant still sees himself as a number one receiver, and if true, the very idea that Bryant could be a red zone target for a run first team seems misplaced.
Looking at the team culture created by Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone, it is hard to see the Jaguars as a good bet to land Dez Bryant even if the need argument is granted. Consider how Dante Fowler Jr.’s antics were handled. This is not a team to welcome any form of locker room toxicity that would be a distraction to their goal of being a Super Bowl contender.
Dez Bryant’s desire to only sign a one-year contract, and the thoughts of those who feel he does not carry the value Dez sees in himself, may be an indication the best bet to make is that he does not play in 2018.