Dez Bryant visits Browns Thursday, no deal reached yet

Free agent receiver was released by Dallas in April

Daryl Ruiter
August 16, 2018 - 5:00 pm
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) on the sideline in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Free agent receiver Dez Bryant visited the Cleveland Browns on Thursday but an agreement between the 2 sides was not reached.

Bryant arrived Thursday morning at Hopkins airport where he was greeted by a film crew from NFL Films for Hard Knocks before being chauffeured to the team facility just a few minutes away where he met with general manager John Dorsey and other team officials.

Bryant received the full tour, as is the custom with free agents, but he was very visable throughout the offices on Thursday. 

The Browns are in the market for help at receiver with Josh Gordon still away from the team and following the trade of Corey Coleman Aug. 5 to the Bills and Dorsey would like to add Bryant, if he can.

Veteran Jarvis Landry and rookie Antonio Callaway appear to be quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s top 2 targets. Rashard Higgins, who enters his third season, has had a strong training camp as has C.J. Board but it appears there isn’t much dependable help beyond those 4 players.

Earlier this week head coach Hue Jackson cautioned against any expectations that Bryant will be signed just because of a visit.

“It's not just a given,” Jackson said Tuesday. “I think you have to work through whatever conversations we have and feel good about it."

Bryant caught 69 passes for 838 yards and 6 touchdowns last season for the Cowboys, who released him in April.

Bryant, who reportedly turned down a 3-year, $21 million deal with Baltimore earlier this year, come with a lot of attention, and baggage. His reputation is that he tends to complain about targets and has a me-first attitude which means Dorsey and Jackson must weigh his big personality and whether he is a fit for the Browns.

"We do all of our homework prior to [a visit], and you have very open and candid conversations with guys about what your locker room is, how your team is run, how we go about doing things and see if it fits,” Jackson said. “The player has to be honest, and we have to be honest about what our expectations are. You just lay it out, and I think that's the only way you can do it at this time."

Taylor is among several players in favor of signing Bryant.

“That would be awesome,” Taylor said on Aug. 9 when asked about the prospects of adding the 3-time Pro Bowler. “We know what type of talent Dez brings to the football field. He’s been a very, very good player in his time throughout this league, and he adds talent to the wide receiver room. I hope it can get done, but that’s up to management. I definitely think he could help this team.”

Bryant’s most productive years came between 2012-2014 wen he racked up at least 1,200 receiving yards in each of the 3 seasons with 45 of his 73 career touchdowns coming in that span. He has had a catch of at least 46 yards or more in each of his 8 NFL seasons.

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley avoided offering an opinion on whether the Browns should add Bryant on Wednesday, but he is open to the idea.

“We’re going to coach the guys that are here. If Dez Bryant, who obviously has been a good player in this league, is in that mix, he’s going to be coached like everybody else,” Haley said. “I tell everybody that shows up here we don’t care about what means you get here, if you’re willing to put your hand in the pile and work and be part of moving forward and having success, I’m all for it.”