West Rumors: Bryant, Butler, Broncos

Somewhat recently, Dez Bryant connected himself to the 49ers as he scanned the landscape in hopes of latching on with a second NFL franchise. Now, others may be pointing in that direction as well. The 49ers have been the team to which Bryant’s been most connected, Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report writes. The 29-year-old wide receiver turned down an offer from the Ravens, and they moved on to Willie Snead. Now, Bryant is not expected to sign with a team before training camp. The 49ers made a concerted effort to avoid high-profile wideouts in free agency. However, Bryant’s price tag will not be what Sammy Watkins or Allen Robinson — two players the 49ers made a point to steer clear of — commanded, perhaps inducing the Niners to make an exception. San Francisco holds more than $46MM in cap space; that’s the third-most in the league. And without a proven tight end or much size at the receiver spot (none of the current cast expected to make the team is over 6-foot), they could be in need of a red zone threat like Bryant.

This will focus on wide receiver situations out west. Here’s the latest:

  • Although Brice Butler signed with the Cardinals a few months ago, he’s experienced a shaky offseason in the desert. He may not be a lock for their 53-man roster, Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com writes. The Cards have a void opposite Larry Fitzgerald after losing multiple contributors, but they still have JJ Nelson and 2017 third-rounder Chad Williams, and drafted Christian Kirk. And the Cards just signed Greg Little as well, perhaps indicating they’re not happy with their receiver situation at present. Butler chose Arizona over a host of other suitors.
  • The Broncos added two receivers in the draft this year, and both Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton are locks to make the roster. This could leave a player the team was once high on out of a job. Carlos Henderson did not see the field as a rookie, spending all year on IR with a thumb injury. The 2017 third-round pick is now dealing with a hamstring malady, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic notes (subscription required). “(The injury) started in Phase 2 and hasn’t gotten better,” Vance Joseph said, via Jhabvala. “He’s got to get back on the field if he wants to make this football team.” Denver also has Jordan Taylor and Isaiah McKenzie vying for roster spots, with one of those two likely sticking around as the primary return man. Henderson produced eye-popping numbers at Louisiana Tech, and it would be a tad early for a team to give up on a third-rounder, but the slot target could be in danger of being cut by his first NFL team without having played in a regular-season game.
  • Speaking of injuries affecting camp battles, Brandon Marshall also had toe surgery this offseason, per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. The Seahawks already shelved the 13th-year pass-catcher in minicamp because of a hamstring issue, and it appears Marshall — who missed most of 2017 due to ankle surgery — may have a tough time on multiple fronts in making the team. Beyond Doug Baldwin, the Seahawks have Tyler Lockett and now Jaron Brown. They drafted Amara Darboh in the third round last year, and Henderson notes they are high on 2017 seventh-rounder David Moore.
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