Dez Bryant Finds Perfect Fit in New Orleans - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Dez Bryant Finds Perfect Fit in New Orleans

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dissecting Dez Bryant's Saints Decision

    Former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant signed a one-year deal with the Saints on Wednesday. NBC 5 Sports Director Newy Scruggs and Cowboys Insider Jean-Jacques Taylor explain why New Orleans is the perfect landing spot for Bryant. (Published Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018)

    Dez Bryant has been out of work for nearly six months.

    It doesn’t seem like so long now that it’s over and he wound up in the perfect spot.

    Bryant signed a one-year deal with the Saints on Wednesday, which gives him an opportunity to play for Sean Payton, one of the NFL’s best coaches.

    He’ll catch passes from Drew Brees, the NFL’s all-time leader in completions, and he’ll share the wide receiver’s room with Mike Thomas, who’s one of just four players to have 70 catches and 1,000 each of his first two seasons.

    He couldn’t have picked a better scenario, if the league had asked him to pick his new employer and demanded they sign him.

    He even gets to wear No.88.

    With the Saints, Bryant will play for a coach who excels in scheming guys open and getting them the ball.

    He’ll play with Brees, who’s completing 77 percent of his passes and is outstanding at throwing the back-shoulder fade, Bryant’s signature route.

    And with Thomas, the 30-year-old Bryant won’t be asked to carry the offense.

    Brees, Thomas and Alvin Kamara will do that.

    Thomas has 880 yards receiving and five touchdowns, while Kamara has 917 total yards - 490 rushing and 427 receiving.

    Bryant’s former teammates seem thrilled for him. Jason Garrett wished him the best.

    The reality is they will get to play Bryant on Nov. 29, when the Saints visit AT&T Stadium.

    They know he’s going to try to “Throw up the X” multiple times and they’re going to try to blow him up if they catch him slipping.

    Jaylon Smith already tweeted out that he has first dibs on swapping jerseys with Bryant after the game.

    “That’s just the game,” reserve safety Kavon Frazier said. “He’s trying to embarrass us and I’m trying to hit him.

    “Dez is my guy. I’m so happy for him. I know he’s been wanting to play.”

    Bryant used to be among the game’s best receivers - he had three consecutive 1,200-yard seasons from 2012-14 - and he’s the franchise leader with 73 touchdown receptions.

    But the Cowboys cut him in April because he was scheduled to earn $12.5 million, although it had been 22 games since had a 100-yard game and three years since his last 1,000-yard season.

    He didn’t leave on good terms, ripping play-caller Scott Linehan and captains Sean Lee and Travis Frederick.

    “I think it's taken this long on his end, not because teams haven't wanted him. I think he was waiting for the right team that he wanted to go to, the right fit for him," running back Ezekiel Elliott said. “Ever since I got here, Dez was nothing but a help to me. Right when I got here, he took me under his wing. You're getting a very passionate football player. You're getting a very passionate individual. I think sometimes that's looked at the wrong way."

    Bryant reportedly turned down offers from Baltimore and Cleveland. He worked out for the Saints on Tuesday and joining them made sense.

    With Thomas dominating, Bryant doesn’t have to worry about double coverage too often. He’ll be covered by a lesser player and that should lead to opportunities.

    “I love Dez,” Garrett said. “I wish nothing but the best for him. That’s a great spot for him.”

    All he has to do is fit in.

    He has no sweat equity in the locker room or with the fans. The Saints belong to Payton and Brees, who brought the city a Super Bowl.

    The team also belong to Thomas and Kamara because they represent the future.

    Bryant is in New Orleans to get in where he fits in.

    Period.

    It’s not about asking or demanding for more targets. It’s about doing whatever the Saints need him to do.

    Thomas has been targeted 79 times in eight games, and Kamara has had 51. That’s 46.5 percent of Brees’ targets, so there will be some opportunities for Bryant but they won’t be nearly as plentiful as he had in Dallas where he was the No.1 option getting targeted an average of 8.7 per game over the last six years of his career.

    This team is tied for the best record in the NFC, and it has a chance to win a Super Bowl.

    The Saints signed Bryant because their depth at the position is shady, and the Saints hope at some point in the postseason he’ll make a play that helps them win a game.

    We’ll soon find out if he can.

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