Bryant attracting interest after release by Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) runs against Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brian Poole (34)After eight seasons of Dez Bryant, the Dallas Cowboys are moving on. Dallas released Bryant on Friday, freeing up cap space by eliminating the final two years of his big contract. Bryant will turn 30 in November and has lost some of the explosiveness he possessed in his prime, but the veteran receiver still feels he has plenty to offer on an NFL field, and there are more than a few teams who appear to agree with him.

Bryant leaves Dallas as the franchise leader in touchdown receptions (73) and he is among the top five Cowboys in career receiving yards. Bryant’s best seasons, including his first team all-pro season in 2014, happened when Tony Romo was quarterback for Dallas, and his role with the team diminished once Dak Prescott took over passing duties. Releasing Bryant signals that the Cowboys’ offense fully belongs to Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott, while Bryant will test free agency for the first time.

Of all the teams interested in signing Bryant, the Baltimore Ravens appear to be the frontrunner. The Ravens already began the overhaul of their receivers by signing Michael Crabtree, and adding Bryant would give Joe Flacco two elite red zone options. Baltimore is also considered a playoff contender, which is likely high on the aging Bryant’s list of priorities. Teams such as the New Orleans Saints and the Buffalo Bills have also been mentioned in relation to Bryant, but neither the Ravens nor any of these other teams meet Bryant’s top priority: remaining in the NFC East.

Bryant has expressed a desire to play the Cowboys twice per season to prove they shouldn’t have released him. The New York Giants appear to be at the top of his wish list, as he feels playing alongside Odell Beckham Jr. and catching passes from Eli Manning would “be crazy” while also acknowledging the logistical issues of adding him to a team stocked with receivers and up against the cap like the Giants are. It doesn’t appear as though Bryant will get his wish and remain in the Cowboys’ division, but that could change depending on what teams do at next week’s draft.