Kansas City could be the site of a 2020 comeback for free agent wide receiver Dez Bryant.
On Sunday night, the All-Pro receiver was asked by a fan on Twitter about a comeback to his former team, the Dallas Cowboys. While Bryant did confirm that he would entertain a reunion in Dallas next season, he also listed the Kansas City Chiefs among four other contenders he is open to playing for.
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The 31-year-old wideout hasn’t played meaningful NFL football in two years. Bryant did sign with the New Orleans Saints in November 2018, however, a torn Achilles tendon during his second practice with the team ended his season before it could even begin.
Prior to New Orleans, Bryant spent his entire seven-year career with the Cowboys who selected the Oklahoma State product with the first round (24th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. Named to three Pro Bowls throughout his career, the 6’2,” 220-pound playmaker has 531 receptions, 7,459 yards and 73 touchdowns to his name – including a career-high 16 scores during his only All-Pro campaign in 2014.
Back on July 30, Bryant tweeted that he has “no interest in playing football right now,” citing his mental health as a contributing factor in the decision.
About a month later, the Cowboys all-time receiving touchdown leader tweeted that he’d turned down a lucrative multi-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens, again citing his mental and physical health. The tweet has since been deleted.
“I turned down 30+ million from the ravens… all because how I felt and I wasn’t going to disrespect their organization and myself,” Bryant wrote on August 25. “I know what I can do if my mind and body is on the right track.”
In early November, however, Bryant shared that he was a couple weeks away from reaching out to NFL teams looking to boost their receiving corps. Given his current status as a free agent, it appears that no team took him up on his offer.
Outside of 1,200+ receiving yards from All-Pro TE Travis Kelce, Kansas City has relied on major contributions from five primary receivers this season – Tyreek Hill (799), Sammy Watkins (665), Mecole Hardman (508), Demarcus Robinson (425), and Byron Pringle (170).
With Kelce under contract through the 2021 season and speedsters Hill and Hardman signed until 2023, the Chiefs’ core pass catchers should remain intact for at least two more seasons. Following the conclusion of the 2019 season, the 25-year-old Robinson, who has put together a career year, is the only core receiver projected to become an unrestricted free agent.
The wild card that could determine the need for Dez Bryant’s services, however, is Sammy Watkins. Speculation surrounding the 26-year-old’s future in Kansas City has grown as the season has progressed. The former No. 4 overall pick is under contract through next season with a projected 2020 salary cap hit of $21 million, up from his current cap hit of $19.2 million.
Watkins’ contract structure allows the Chiefs a relatively cheap out after this season, though. Should Kansas City choose to release the sixth-year wideout, they would only incur $7 million in dead cap money, but would receive $14 million in cap savings. If the interest is mutual between Bryant and the Chiefs this coming offseason, the team’s financial decisions on Robinson and Watkins will be a telling sign of what’s to come.