Nearly seven months – and multiple apparent near-deals – after being released by the Dallas Cowboys, Dez Bryant has reportedly found a new team.
The New Orleans Saints are signing Bryant to a one-year contract, as first reported by NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. Rapoport wrote on Twitter that Bryant would officially sign on Thursday.
Bryant confirmed in a message to WFAA Sports Wednesday morning that it was a "done deal." He later publicly said the same thing in response to former teammate Jaylon Smith's congratulatory tweet.
Bryant was one of three wide receivers who worked out for the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday, and the Saints apparently liked what they saw. Multiple league insiders reported that Bryant, who turned 30 on Sunday, was working on a deal with the Saints after his workout.
The Saints no doubt have Super Bowl aspirations after winning seven straight games and knocking the Los Angeles Rams from the unbeaten ranks in Week 9.
The timing of the deal is rather serendipitous, as the Saints are set to visit the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on Nov. 29. After his release, Bryant expressed interest in playing against his former team in 2018.
The Drew Brees-led Saints rank seventh in the league in yardage and second in points per game, with a receiving corps that lacks starpower outside of budding superstar Michael Thomas.
Alvin Kamara, a second-year pro who has emerged as one of the league’s most dynamic running backs, is the team’s second-leading receiver with 51 catches. No wide receiver beyond Thomas has more than 12 catches on the year. Tight end Benjamin Watson has hauled in 26 passes.
A lot is unknown about how effective Bryant can be after a prolonged free agency during which he’s mentioned multiple times a need to self-evaluate and “get right.” Nagging injuries plagued the star wideout in his final three seasons in Dallas, during which he saw a significant drop in production and missed 10 games.
Bryant was among the NFL’s best at the wide receiver position from 2011-2014, when he averaged 85 catches for more than 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns per season.
His divorce from the organization has been rocky. He’s repeatedly blasted former teammates and coaches, including a particularly lengthy Twitter rant during training camp in which he called Sean Lee a “snake” and eviscerated the Cowboys' "garbage" offensive scheme.
Bryant, however, appears to have an amicable relationship with owner Jerry Jones. The two were seen at a concert together at AT&T Stadium in September, and Bryant has been open about a willingness to return to the Cowboys, with whom he spent eight seasons.