As the NFL turns its calendar to July, most of the rumors connecting free agent wideout Dez Bryant to the 49ers have been initiated by Bryant himself, as the veteran pass-catcher indicated in a May Instagram post that he’d like to sign with San Francisco. But it’s not only Bryant that’s stirring the Bay Area pot, according to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report, who indicates league insiders’ “best guess” is that Bryant will end up signing with the 49ers.
The 49ers still have more than $45MM in available cap space, so inking Bryant — who is reportedly looking for a one-year deal after turning down a three-year pact from the Ravens earlier this year — shouldn’t present a financial obstacle. Roster-wise, San Francisco boasts Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin as its top two receivers, but doesn’t have much depth after that, with Trent Taylor, rookie Dante Pettis, and Aldrick Robinson lurking as secondary options.
Even if he were to play a reduced snap count behind Garcon and Goodwin, Bryant — who stands 6’2″ — could give the 49ers a larger red-zone weapon than they currently possess (both Garcon and Goodwin are 6’0″ or shorter). Bryant, 29, certainly comes with risk, as he hasn’t topped 1,000 yards receiving since 2014, while his 12.1 yards per reception in 2017 was the lowest average of his career. But he can still post up opposing defensive backs near the end zone, and would be a tantalizing option for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
While a number of teams — including the Packers and Cardinals — have been tangentially linked to Bryant since he was released by the Cowboys, no club aside from the Ravens has been directly interested in the former first-round pick. In fact, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com has reported many teams are unwilling to consider Bryant even at the minimum salary. Bryant hadn’t been expected to land a new deal until July, so the clock is now ticking on the veteran wideout.
In a recent Pro Football Rumors poll, readers agreed with Freeman’s NFL sources that Bryant will ultimately land in San Francisco, with the Patriots finishing as a strong second choice.
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