NFL

Dez Bryant Nearly Signed a 3-Year Deal With the Baltimore Ravens in 2018

Former Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, as he could have done earlier in his career, is now a member of the Baltimore Ravens.

Bryant, the three-time Pro Bowler, just inked a one-year contract with the Ravens. Nearly three years after his most recent NFL game, Bryant will start his tenure in Baltimore on the team’s practice squad.

This isn’t the first time Bryant and the Baltimore Ravens had a mutual interest in one another. Bryant nearly signed a multi-year deal with the Ravens in 2018, although he backed out for reasons we’ll explain.

Dez Bryant has had an impressive NFL career

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The 24th overall pick in 2010, Desmond Demond Bryant — or Dez — had an extremely productive eight seasons in Dallas.

Standing 6 feet 2 inches and weighing 220 pounds, Bryant used his size to become one of the NFL’s most dangerous red-zone targets, especially when Tony Romo was behind center.

Bryant turned 531 receptions into 7,459 yards and 73 touchdowns across 113 games (99 starts) with the Cowboys from 2010-17.

Bryant made three Pro Bowls and earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2014, when he recorded 88 catches, 1,320 yards, and an NFL-high 16 touchdowns. He also returned two punts for touchdowns as a rookie.

In three playoff games, Bryant caught 15 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns. Dallas Cowboys fans will argue Bryant had a 16th catch, the one famously overturned in a January 2015 NFC divisional round loss to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

Bryant’s production dropped in 2017 and he parted ways with the Cowboys following that season. Although he caught on with the New Orleans Saints in November 2018, Bryant tore his Achilles in his second practice and hasn’t played since then.

Bryant just joined the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad

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Dez Bryant is back in the NFL.

Nearly three years after he caught his final pass for the Dallas Cowboys, Bryant is now wearing a Baltimore Ravens uniform. Bryant inked a practice-squad deal with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, who are 5-1 entering a Week 8 showdown with the undefeated Steelers.

Bryant caught 19 passes for 175 yards and four touchdowns in two career outings against the Ravens. He snagged 13 passes for 95 yards and two scores in a 31-29 loss to the Ravens on Oct. 14, 2012.

Four years later, Bryant had six receptions for 80 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-17 victory on Nov. 20, 2016.

Dez Bryant nearly signed with the Baltimore Ravens in 2018

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This isn’t the first time Dez Bryant and the Baltimore Ravens have been interested in one another.

In April 2018, Bryant was a free agent for the first time. The market hadn’t been overly kind to Bryant, 29 at the time, who wanted playing time and a heavy contract.

ESPN reported that Baltimore offered Bryant a three-year deal worth over $7 million per year. Bryant turned the Ravens down, though, and remained on the open market until he signed with the Saints later that year.

In August 2019, Bryant explained in a now-deleted tweet — which Heavy.com captured — why he didn’t sign with the Ravens.

“I turned down 30+ million from the ravens… all because how I felt and I wasn’t going to disrespect their organization and myself. I know what I can do if my mind and body is on the right track.”

Everything came full circle for Bryant and the Ravens, then. Baltimore has a former Pro Bowl receiver who is surely hungry to prove himself to other teams and win a Super Bowl along the way.

Bryant turns 32 on November 4, but hasn’t played the last two years. A strong performance down the stretch could set Bryant up for a chance to play in 2021 and beyond.

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