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Dez Bryant’s New Orleans Saints career is over without him ever playing in a game for the team.
The team’s fears were confirmed Saturday, as an MRI revealed Bryant ruptured his Achilles during Friday’s practice, according to Adam Schefter. He’s expected to miss eight months.
The team suspected Bryant may have torn his Achilles almost immediately, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, who first reported the news.
Bryant, who had been out of football since the end of last season with the Dallas Cowboys, agreed to join the Saints on Wednesday and had his first practice on Thursday. ESPN’s Adam Schefter said the Saints might consider signing veteran Brandon Marshall.
No matter your thoughts on the sometimes controversial Bryant, that’s a rough blow.
Dez Bryant’s injury is a tough blow after an unusual offseason
Bryant’s offseason was unusual. He was cut by the Cowboys weeks after free agency started, which limited his market. He turned down a reported three-year, $21 million deal from the Ravens and waited for the best opportunity. Although he has said before that it wasn’t about the money to him, it makes his Achilles injury that much tougher. Bryant signed a one-year deal with the Saints that would pay him a maximum of $1 million, and that was with incentives he won’t reach now.
Bryant waited for the right match, and the Saints were it. New Orleans needed receiver depth (Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune pointed out that Bryant would be the fifth Saints receiver to go on injured reserve) and Bryant could help. Bryant could have played for a half-season and into the playoffs with Drew Brees, then hit free agency again. It seemed like a win-win.
What might be the worst part of Friday’s injury for Bryant is that he’ll likely have a tough go of it in free agency, again.
Bryant will be 31 during next season
There were many reasons Bryant was unsigned until this week. One of the reasons is last season he had a tough time getting separation from cornerbacks. He turned 30 on Nov. 4, and he won’t be more explosive at 31 years old next season coming off a torn Achilles. Teams will be even more wary of him losing a step.
Bryant’s recovery time puts him in a tough spot for next season. The start of free agency is just four months away, but Bryant will need eight for a full recovery. Given how relatively slow the market was for him, it could be another offseason of waiting to see where Bryant lands.
It’s an injury that affects the Saints some, affects Bryant a lot more, and one that we’ll be revisiting often next offseason.
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