On the surface, Dez Bryant‘s decision to return for the stretch run with a Super Bowl contender was brilliant. If he could show the rest of the NFL that he can still get it done — especially in the postseason — Dez would set himself up for a potentially significant payday on the first day of free agency in 2019.
But the game of football always entails a risk of injury, and with Dez reportedly popping an Achilles tendon on the last play of practice on Friday, the situation will complicate his prospects for next year. And Bryant knows it.
The injury happened a year to the day after former Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman ruptured an Achilles tendon against the Cardinals. It left him unavailable for the offseason program, although he was able to pass a physical in time for training camp.
So it will undoubtedly take Bryant time to get ready for next year, and he most likely will encounter limited interest on the open market, with his best play being a one-year deal. And if the only offers entail one-year, low-money compensation packages, he should consider waiting until the contenders declare themselves, like he did this year.
At a reported base salary of $1.25 million (prorated to $588,000), Dez will get paid for the balance of the season, and he’ll have access to the Saints’ medical and training facilities as he recovers. Maybe that will make the Saints and Bryant inclined to give it a try in 2019. Regardless, Dez’s prospects for next year instantly have become far different than they could have been.
None of this means that he erred in not accepting the offer that Cleveland made before the season started, which as PFT reported had hard dollars of less than $5 million. Dez apparently sensed what the rest of us did: That the Browns were going to be a jambalaya of dysfunction.